News George Osborne sounded warnings ahead of 26 June deadline

Chancellor has demanded £11.5bn in spending reductions, with most Whitehall departments required to find savings of up to 10%

Nonsense verse? Presenter Des Lynam backs Ukip and rewrites 'Send in the Clowns' as retort to Ken Clarke

Mr Lynam said he had voted for the Eurosceptic party last week

Tories brace for major losses in local elections amid dismay over Ukip growth

The Conservatives are braced for hundreds of losses in the 2 May local elections amid signs of disarray over how to counter the growing threat from the UK Independence Party.

Ian Duncan Smith said his department  had provided a hotline to help people  pay back such benefits

Iain Duncan Smith backtracks after saying that wealthy pensioners should hand back their benefits

Work and Pensions Secretary says: 'I'm not making that a policy position'

Labour leadership asks MPs to 'respect' Margaret Thatcher tributes

Labour MPs have been urged by their party leadership to show “respect and restraint” when the House of  Commons discusses Baroness Thatcher’s legacy today.

Coalition wins commons vote for secret courts

Plans to allow more civil courts to sit in secret were pushed through the Commons last night in the face of protests from MPs of all parties that the moves would undermine basic principles of British justice.

Ministers should be given annual performance appraisals, says former head of civil service

Ministers should be given annual performance appraisals to see how well they are doing their jobs, a former head of the civil service said today.

Ken Clarke promoted the idea of a 'rehabilitation revolution'

Kenneth Clarke’s legacy: first fall in prisoner numbers since 1990s

The prison population has fallen by almost 3,000 since the start of last year, reversing a trend dating back to the 1990s, it has been revealed.

Violent criminals and rapists to be given automatic life sentences when found guilty of a second offence

Violent criminals and rapists will be given automatic life sentences when they are found guilty of their second offences, Chris Grayling announced today as he vowed to be a “tough Justice Secretary”.

Dealers 'laugh at drugs law', says ex-police chief

Drug dealers across the world are laughing at the law as it simply increases their profits, a former police chief said today.

Private sector offender bid slammed

Government plans to hand over the management of offenders to private firms risk compromising public safety, the Chief Inspector of Probation warned today.

Prisons grow more crowded despite falling crime rate

More offenders were jailed last year, and received longer prison sentences, despite an overall fall in the number of criminal convictions, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) disclosed yesterday.

Claimants will have to prove harm

Major reforms of libel laws have been unveiled under which would-be claimants will have to demonstrates that they have suffered serious harm to their reputations, or are likely to do so, before they can take a defamation case forward.

Police to protest over cuts

Rank-and file police officers are to stage a protest over proposed changes to their pay and conditions.

The moves are to combat Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke’s ‘soft’ image on law and order

Sobriety bracelets head wave of new penalty enforcements

Offenders would be fitted with "sobriety bracelets" to check for alcohol in their blood under plans to toughen up community sentences to be launched by the Government.

Criminal records to be wiped early

Thousands of former prison inmates and other offenders could have their past convictions cleared from their records under Government plans.

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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
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13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

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Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'