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The party would also add more than £100 a week to match the minimum wage

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: George Osborne’s lame pun takes Balls-baiting to a new level

Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

A defiant George Osborne during Treasury Questions in the House of Commons

Labour accuses Tories of planning another 'tax cut for millionaires' as George Osborne fails to rule out a cut in the top rate from 45p to 40p

George Osborne refused to rule out a cut in the top rate of tax from 45p to 40p today as the Conservatives and Labour clashed over the economy.

MPs join strikes at the University of London as campaign for better pay and conditions for outsourced workers continues

Around 50 workers and supporters took to the picket lines at the University of London today, armed with music, whistles, flags and placards as part of an ongoing campaign to win better pay and conditions for the university’s outsourced workers.

Vince Cable: 'There are different ways of finishing the job. Not all require the pace and scale of cuts set out by the Chancellor'

Vince Cable warns against housing bubble-linked recovery

Vince Cable has warned a housing boom could mean the economic recovery is merely a “short term bounce” in a warning shot aimed at the Liberal Democrats' Coalition partners.

The vow to crack down on errant behaviour appears carefully timed to seize momentum on one of the most important electoral years in the party’s 21-year history

Nigel Farage vows to crack down on Ukip's 'Walter Mitty' candidates following embarrassment of David Silvester gay marriage flooding comments

Nigel Farage has vowed to crack-down on Ukip’s “Walter Mitty” candidates who jeopardise the party’s image as he prepares a campaigning offensive ahead of May’s European elections.

Only 28 per cent of respondents agreed they would be better off with Ed Miliband and Ed Balls

Opinion poll exclusive: Labour lead cut to one point after Tories gain on living standards

Labour’s lead over the Conservatives has dropped to just one point amid signs that the Tories are making headway in the crucial political battle over living standards, according to an opinion poll for The Independent.

Syrian refugees look out from an evacuated house in Istanbul. Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under new government plans

Government U-turn will see hundreds of Syrian refugees come to Britain

Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under plans to be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Business leaders slam Labour over 50p tax rate

Ed Balls has vowed to increase the top tax rate for high earners to 50p

Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce Government plans to scrap and amend rules affecting firms at the Federation of Small Business conference on Monday

'Crazy rules dreamt up by Whitehall bureaucrats' are to be scrapped, David Cameron to announce at FSB conference

The Prime Minister's speech comes after the FSB said the Government and big companies must to do more to help smaller firms

Taxing times: The politics of Ed Balls’s pledge to reintroduce the 50p rate may be sound. But the economics are not

The 50p rate simply does not bring in enough money to justify its own existence

The former stand-up comedian announced on the Jonathan Ross show that he will stand as a politician in the next European elections

It’s time to get serious about NHS, says comedian Rufus Hound

34-year-old to run for single-issue party at Euro elections

Ed Balls denied the claim that he would go beyond a 50p top tax rate

Top tax rate ‘could go up to 60p’ if Labour win next election

Ed Balls could consider increasing the top rate of tax to 55p or even 60p if he became Chancellor, former Trade minister Digby Jones claimed today.

Ed Balls will tell the Fabian society that Labour 'will look at new ways of delivering public services'

'Labour will bring back 50p income tax for top earners' says Ed Balls

Shadow Chancellor would shift the burden of the deficit to the rich, raising £10bn in three years

MP moves to reform zero-hours contracts

The first attempt at banning the exploitative use of controversial zero-hours contracts has been put before Parliament and could help an estimated one million workers.

A Bedroom Tax protest outside the SNP Autumn Conference in October 2013; nine months after its introduction, the policy is still dividing opinions

The 'bedroom tax' remains one of the most divisive of Coalition policies

Labour has pledged to abolish the scheme

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living