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The firm carrying out the Government’s controversial “fitness for work” tests on disabled benefit claimants is a “disgrace” and should be stripped of its contract, Labour will say on Monday.

Coalition wins crucial vote on VAT rise

A bid to scrap the 2.5% hike in VAT was overwhelmingly defeated in the Commons in a major victory for the Coalition Government.

Lib Dems recoil at Osborne's 'regressive' Budget

VAT up, spending cut, benefits slashed in Osborne’s first Budget

The Sketch: Concern for the vulnerable? They couldn't care less

Well, there it is, now we know. From its statement on public spending cuts, the coalition's "concern for the vulnerable" is revealed as a hoax. They couldn't care less about the weak, the fragile, the incapacitated. If they cared, they'd never have made Danny Alexander answer questions for an agonising hour, exposing to the Commons his parliamentary disabilities and piteous lack of preparation. That was not an example of "compassionate Conservativism" (unless, of course, it was).

Union leaders and public urged to debate deficit

Politicians, trade union leaders and members of the public were invited today by the Government to engage in the debate on how to cut the budget deficit and ensure Britain lives within its means.

Coalition cabinet's rising star was too terrified to admit he was gay

Two of David Laws' last acts as a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister were to rebuff the offer from a bemused civil servant of a pot plant for his new office – just before axeing the Treasury's entire budget for pot plants.

The Sketch: Tantrums and tiaras, but Labour have really lost their sparkle

There was a small but observable increase in tiaras in the House of Lords. It may or may not mean the return of the Cavaliers, but we've certainly witnessed a rout of the Roundheads.

Diane Abbott adds name to leadership contenders

Diane Abbott yesterday put herself forward as a left-wing contender to succeed Gordon Brown, arguing some of her rivals for the role had been "more focussed on winning the leadership battle" than on helping defeat the Tories in the election.

Sean O'Grady: If you get all the bad news out at once, the only way left to go will be up. Or will it?

Alastair Campbell, who understood such matters better than most, said that all governments need a "narrative" – a simple, straightforward way of saying what they are about.

Liz Hoggard: We're all 'second division' sometimes

Yvette Cooper is a bit of ahead girl swot. But she was pushed too far

John Rentoul: Cameron is cheeky, but right

The Conservative leader's bid for 'Guardian' reader support on public sector differentials is smart

Tories will not raise national insurance

The Conservative Party will today promise to spare businesses and people on low and middle-incomes from the rise in national insurance contributions (NICs) due next year.

£11bn cut in Whitehall costs to help deficit

All Government departments will be affected by economy drive

Cameron 'losing battle for liberal votes'

David Cameron has hit a "glass ceiling" in support and needs to do more to convince liberal voters to back his rebranded Tory party, a senior member of his team has admitted.

The Sketch: Service cuts? You're joking – it's about 'smarter' savings

He's got an attractive laugh, has Liam Byrne, but he used it too often. sounding like a desperate husband trying to make light of his infidelities.

Tories are heading for hung parliament, warns Heseltine

David Cameron is facing the nightmare of a minority government in a hung parliament, Lord Heseltine has warned. The former Deputy Prime Minister's remarks coincide with a sequence of opinion polls showing that the gap between the two main parties has been closing since the new year, when greater attention focused on the Conservatives.

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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss