News

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.

Labour gets jitters over 'Tory cuts' message

Ministers doubt the Prime Minister's line of attack as critics say party must accept big spending days are over

Economy suffers steepest fall in 50 years

The UK economy recorded its sharpest decline in more than 50 years during the first quarter of 2009, figures showed today.

Darling 'may strip Bank of key powers'

Chancellor Alistair Darling could strip the Bank of England of key powers amid a spat with governor Mervyn King, it was revealed today.

Steve Richards: It's time people knew how their money was being spent

Whoever wins the next election must debate public spending more openly

The 'horseshoe cabinet' where Mandelson is at PM's right hand

Brown hires spin doctor who revived Queen's image in backstage reshuffle

Cabinet presses the reform button again

Public services should be tailored to people's needs and decided at local level, under plans agreed in Downing Street

And finally... <i>The IoS</i> announces its Reshuffle Awards

After an eventful week on the political stage, John Rentoul sums up the highs and lows and hands out some deserved gongs

Cameron vows to get 'more for less'

Tory leader will rally his troops with demand for greater value for money

John Rentoul: Labour's lucky. Michael Gove's a one-off

The Tory Education spokesman scores top marks for stealing Labour's clothes with calls for educational reform

The Sketch: Beautiful, but the show should have gone on

The deeper we look into each other the fewer differences we find. Politics divides us a lot, our daily lives less so, death least of all. There's an equality there, of a sort, in the end. As General de Gaulle said to his wife at the graveside of their disabled daughter: "Come: Now she is like the others."

Andrew Grice: Wilson's jibe may return to haunt Brown

Inside Politics

New law to enforce social mobility

Poor have less chance of finding a good job than their parents, ministers admit

Andrew Grice: Role of the state is defining question for 2009

Inside Politics

Steve Richards: It's taken a crisis for Labour to rediscover its unity

To the amazement of his listeners, Brown said 'Mandelson gets it. He gets globalisation'

Row erupts over &pound;140m pensions blunder

The Government was embroiled in a blame game tonight over pensions that paid out £140 million too much

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there