News Lord Butler himself was asked to investigate two cases of potential ministerial misconduct

Britain’s most senior civil servants should no longer be asked to investigate accusations of ministerial misconduct because they do not have the “powers” to get to the truth, the former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Robin Butler, has suggested.

Extra help for troops to mask U-turn on covenant

Ministers across the Government have been ordered to find extra resources for armed forces personnel and veterans in an attempt to mask a U-turn on David Cameron's pledge to enshrine the Military Covenant in law.

Coaliton will 'survive' AV poll

The coalition will survive whatever the result of next week's elections and the referendum on voting reform, Defence Secretary Liam Fox insisted today.

Liam Fox heads to US for Libya talks

Defence Secretary Liam Fox is heading to the US for talks on the military campaign in Libya, it was revealed today.

Village People: UK shows how much it values citizens

William Hague endured heavy criticism when the Foreign Office was slow to lay on aircraft to take British citizens out of Libya, so he must be keen that the costs of other airlifts out of crisis zones are not subjected to too much scrutiny.

Video: MP plays air guitar in Commons

Conservative MP Graham Evans strums a tune on a magazine during a speech by Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

'Army was stretched to limit,' Labour candidate says

Labour's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stretched the Army to its limit, special forces veteran Dan Jarvis has admitted as he tries to become the party's MP in the Barnsley Central by-election on Thursday.

Liam Fox defends Mideast arms sales

Britain should seek to retain a "healthy slice" of the defence market in the Middle East, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said today.

Liam Fox in Ministry of Defence costs crackdown

Defence Secretary Liam Fox will launch a crackdown on ballooning costs at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) this week as figures show projects are running £8.8 billion over budget.

Fox defends decision to axe Nimrod

Government ministers and military chiefs today defended the decision to scrap the RAF's Nimrod surveillance planes, after a group of retired senior officers warned it would leave a "massive gap" in Britain's security.

Widespread cut in coastguards 'will cost lives'

The number of rescue centres is to drop from 19 to eight as distress calls rise

MoD 'will politicise covenant'

The Ministry of Defence stands accused of "politicising" the military covenant, under plans to scrap an independent review of the Government's progress in honouring the nation's pact with servicemen and women.

Coalition strained as more Lib Dems voice criticisms

Three Liberal Democrat ministers have criticised the Government's decision to cut child benefit and lifted the lid on tensions between them and their Conservative Coalition partners.

Liam Fox cancels Sri Lanka trip

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has cancelled a controversial visit to Sri Lanka he had been planning to make this weekend.

Leading article: The fiscal tail wags the military dog

David Cameron began his Commons statement unveiling the Strategic Defence Review yesterday with the emphatic declaration that: "This is not simply a cost-saving exercise". But the Prime Minister protested too much. And that assertion was, in any case, contradicted by the number of times Mr Cameron went on to blame the dire financial legacy of the previous Labour government for closing down options. The Prime Minister cannot have it both ways.

Leading article: Can they cut without killing the recovery?

Come Wednesday, the country will finally know what awaits it, when the Chancellor announces the results of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review. Expectations, it is fair to say, are doom-laden. The extent to which the UK has been living beyond its means is well known and well understood. That at least some of our woes can be laid at the bankers' doors does not alter the reality that almost everyone will take a hit.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform