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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness