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

A 2004 painting of MP Diane Abbott which cost £11,750, by Stuart Pearson Wright

MPs splurge £250,000 of public money on 'expensive' portraits

Tax payers' fund the ultimate MP vanity project – having specially commissioned portraits of themselves painted by the UK's leading artists

Boris Johnson TFL information sign mocks Mayor ahead of planned tube strikes

Criticism comes as tube workers prepare for protests and two 48-hour industrial action

Secret networks of Freemasons have been used by organised crime gangs to corrupt the criminal justice system, according to a bombshell Metropolitan Police report leaked to The Independent

Revealed: How gangs used the Freemasons to corrupt police

Gangsters able to recruit police officers through secret society, says investigation for Scotland Yard

William Hague, left, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, said there had been no ‘systematic’ torture by British troops

Pressure grows for inquiry into UK role in Iraq 'war crimes'

Senior UK military and political figures could end up in the dock as 400 victims denounce 'systemic' use of torture and cruelty

Israel's president Shimon Peres prepares to lay a wreath on the coffin of former prime minister Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon’s body lies in state outside Knesset as Israelis come to pay their respects

There will be a state memorial service for the former prime minister tomorrow before he is buried in a private ceremony at his ranch

A small triumph for democracy

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

Labour plans to license teachers with 'classroom MoTs' that could see them sacked if they fail regular checks

Regular checks would 're-professionalise' teaching, according to shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt

The actor Daniel Kaluuya is suing Scotland Yard

Metropolitan Police releases 'alarming' strip-search figures

People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds account for more than half of those strip-searched by the Metropolitan Police in the past three years, according to “extremely alarming” figures collected by the force.

House of Lords warned not to 'ignore the public's wishes' on EU referendum debate

The House of Lords has been warned that it would be “ignoring” the wishes of ordinary people if it blocks a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

British director Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen to make epic BBC drama about black British experience

The series will follow black Britons from the Sixties to the present day

Labour slam Royal Mail's 'botched' privatisation

Labour has accused the government of a “botched privatisation” over its controversial sell off of Royal Mail, saying taxpayers have been short-changed by hundreds of millions of pounds.

Bill Grimsey to advise Labour over high streets and business rates

The former chief executive of Wickes and Iceland Bill Grimsey has been made an adviser to the Labour party and will help draw up the opposition’s strategy over business rates for small businesses – one of the hottest topics for retailers.

Goggins: he served in the Home Office and Northern Ireland Office

Paul Goggins: Respected and admired Labour MP whose politics and social activism were fuelled by his Roman Catholic faith

The unusually subdued and non-partisan mood that came over MPs during Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions was partly attributable to the shock caused by the early death of the conscientious and popular Labour MP, Paul Goggins. "He was a kind, brilliant man who believed profoundly in public service," David Cameron told the House, while Ed Miliband described him as "someone of the deepest principle."

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.

Ben Miles as Thomas Cromwell and Lydia Leonard as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn