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Defence procurement has been one of the biggest machines for wasting money

Bogus colleges 'not being tackled'

The Government's failure to tackle the problem of bogus colleges has allowed tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to come to the UK, a damning report warns today.

One success only for asylum seekers scheme

A £1 million Government scheme to help failed asylum seekers return home was "mismanaged from start to finish" and resulted in just one family leaving the UK, a report found today.

MPs call for better data on "slave trade"

Efforts to curb human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Britain and Europe are being hindered by a lack of information about its true scale, a parliamentary committee said today.

Amazon drops rape simulation game

A game that involves the player stalking victims and then raping them in a virtual world was being offered for sale by online retailer Amazon.com.

Simon Carr: Jacqui plagued by both her houses

Sketch: Had Jacqui ever taken ecstasy herself, Keith Vaz toyed with the idea, but we didn't find out

Johnson praises 'heroic' transport efforts after snow

Boris Johnson praised the "heroic" efforts" of transport bosses to get the capital's buses running today as he refused to allow the snow-related problems to prevent him attending a grilling by MPs.

Happy hours to be banned in alcohol 'problem areas'

Happy hours and supermarket deals would be banned in areas plagued by binge drinking and alcohol-related crime under a plan being considered by ministers. Three government departments are in talks over the proposed scheme to tackle binge drinking "hot spots", The Independent has learnt.

MP Vaz faces code-of-conduct probe

A Westminster sleaze watchdog has launched an inquiry into claims that Labour MP Keith Vaz tried to interfere in a court case, it was announced today.

Forced marriages: the trail of misery and fear in Britain

A helpline for victims has been inundated with callers. Jerome Taylor was given exclusive access to their harrowing stories

Is that a Tory peer in the woodpile?

Baron Dixon-Smith, a Tory frontbencher and one of the country's senior peers, found himself in the middle of a race row last week when he used the phrase "nigger in the woodpile" during a Lords debate on the Housing and Regeneration Bill. After an intervention by Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, the peer stated: "I apologise, my lords. I left my brains behind."

Brown quizzed over 'reward' for 42-day vote

Gordon Brown faced questions today over why his Chief Whip apparently assured a Labour MP he would be "appropriately rewarded" for his support in a crunch Commons vote on 42-day pre-charge detention.

The Sketch: Loyalists belittled by opportunism and argument

After the debate on university top-up fees some years ago, I wondered why one of Labour's well-known lefties had voted for the left's most hated measure of the day.

The Sketch: Fog of jargon and evasion engulfs Home Secretary

If you can get your hands on Hansard of Thursday last week you might want to keep it as a historic document. It's not quite Magna Carta but at column 608 it says: "The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr Bob Ainsworth): Absolute bollocks."

Brown gives himself 'wriggle room' on ID cards scheme

The commitment of Gordon Brown to identity cards was in question last night after he declined to say if he personally supported making them compulsory.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam