News The man behind the all-important shift of David Cameron’s parting from the left to the right has been awarded an MBE.

David Cameron pays £90 a time; Nick Clegg has gone to £45. But for many MPs it’s a point of pride to pay as little as possible. We comb Westminster to find out whose haircuts cost what

Andy McSmith's Diary: Why do these troughers in ermine have a legal right to line their pockets?

The House of Lords has published details of expenses claimed by their lordships during August 2013. Since they convened for only one day that month, most peers claimed no expenses, but among the minority who did you will see – inevitably – the names of that trio of troughers in ermine, Lord Hanningfield, Lord Taylor of Warwick, and Baroness Uddin.

Ed Miliband has argued that the package could not go ahead during the biggest cost of living crisis for a generation

PMQs: Miliband gives tour-de-force demonstration of how not to do it

A growing economy is bad news for Ed's 'cost of living crisis'

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron signs the book of condolence at the South African Embassy in central London

MPs to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela in Parliament

The leaders of Britain’s three main political parties will lead tributes on Monday, as normal parliamentary business is suspended

Andy McSmith's Diary: One sympathetic Tory sought to co-write leader’s biography

Of all the people David Cameron might choose to write his biography, Michael Ashcroft must surely be near the bottom of the list.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Tristram Hunt throws the (EngLit) book at Michael Gove

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an ambitious minister possessed of a large department tampers with the legacy of the country’s most celebrated woman novelist at his peril. A point not lost on the new shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, who today challenged Michael Gove to confirm that pupils studying only English Language will be “excluded from studying great works of English literature”.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Lord Leveson admits he made one big slip-up

Our man in Westminster

Simon Burns insists he can forge a good working relationship with John Bercow

'Stupid, sanctimonious dwarf': Ex-minister Simon Burns who abused Commons Speaker John Bercow could be his deputy

Former Transport minister favourite to be new No 2 to man he criticised

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Up close and personal: Evans’ resignation speech was tough on everyone

Even crusty journalists have displayed a heart which I have never before witnessed

Parliamentary tradition should not hamper efficiency and progress

Walking into Parliament is like stepping back in time. Men in tights, the odd way in which MPs address each other in the Commons, and a voting system that requires Parliamentarians to physically walk through a lobby to cast their ballot. Harmless, if arcane, traditions.

John Bercow, foreground centre, said that in future ministers should not have control over what the House of Commons debated.

Beyond the Commons: John Bercow calls for new age of e-democracy

Speaker flouts convention with public claim that Parliamentary politics is becoming ‘irrelevant’

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Commons chamber awash with the blood of scapegoats

In what seems like another age, but was actually February this year, David Cameron made a sober, non-partisan Commons statement on the Francis report’s exposure of the gruesome failings of the Mid Staffs Hospitals Trust.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: How David Cameron and William Hague got caught up in a battle of the sexes

David Cameron and William Hague got into similar trouble, but for exactly opposite reasons. If the Foreign Secretary had said “stupid person” or (admittedly a bit of a mouthful for an impromptu sedentary aside) “stupid Honourable Member”, he’d be home free. As the lip reading consensus was that he muttered “stupid woman” while Cameron was answering, or more accurately not answering, a hostile question from Labour’s Cathy Jamieson, he quickly became Twitter villain of the day.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch : Danny the axeman cometh of age – and sets about rebuilding the entire nation

It was all rather touching. The Lib Dems (though not Nick Clegg) were out in force, like an extended family supporting a member on his big day – proud but a little worried. How did the unassuming highlander join the “quad” with Dave and George and Nick? And be the one to get a congratulatory pat on the shoulder from the Chancellor, slipping out after hearing his Big Statement? And how did any relative of  ours turn out to be the Cabinet’s axeman? 

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The cuts were bad, but the jokes that accompanied them were even worse

Dr Osborne did not say the economy was  ‘healing’ but ‘moving out of intensive care’

Andy McSmith's Diary: PM’s slip of the tongue was more like Putin his foot in it

David Cameron made an unfortunate slip of the tongue at Prime Minister’s Questions when he referred to “the Russian regime” – at a time when he is striving to improve relations with Vladimir Putin, whom he will meet in Belfast at the weekend, in the honourable hope that he can be persuaded to stop arming the Syrian regime. When he met Putin in Sochi last month, he did not so much as mention Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered on British soil.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on