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.

Cameron risks grassroots revolt over Lib Dem pact

David Cameron faces a momentous challenge to hold his troops together if he negotiates a deal with Nick Clegg, Tories from all wings of the party warned last night.

The Sketch: The biggest laugh? Well it's the way Gordon tells them

But first the hair. Nick's was the youngest, tousled as from afternoon sex. Young people will like that, and it helps project his policy on Europe. Cameron's hair hadn't set properly, there was a bold sweep at the front but then it went flat the further into it you went. I wonder if that means anything. And Gordon's! The poor fellow, his hair is only going in one direction. Soon he'll have fulfilled Blair's promise of being "whiter than white". He should prepare for the next debate with 36 holes in the Bahamas. That advice is so good I may send him a bill (he'll have a spare £100m for emergencies if I know him).

After credits rolled, battle moved on to 'spin alley'

It was always going to be difficult for the army of political spinners involved in last night's debate to predict the outcome. But not even the most imaginative Tory aide would have imagined that less than two hours after the cameras stopped rolling, George Osborne would be giggling away at a Tory attack advert depicting Gordon Brown as Little Britain's most annoying teenager, Vicky Pollard.

Top Tory Liam Fox's laptop and car stolen in burglary

Thieves stole a senior Tory politician's car and a laptop computer that was in it in a burglary at his home, sources said today.

Gordon Brown 'misled inquiry' on defence spending

Gordon Brown has been forced into a damaging retreat after he finally admitted he misled the Iraq Inquiry and Parliament about the funds handed to the armed forces.

Tory MP Liam Fox's expenses appeal rejected

A former High Court judge today dismissed an appeal by shadow defence secretary Liam Fox against a finding that he was overpaid more than £22,000 in parliamentary expenses for mortgage interest on his second home.

Cameron struggles to make the running

As poll lead narrows, Tory leader admits his party has failed to win over the electorate / Fears of right-wing backlash as shadow minister admits Labour could win election

Army to change way it treats injured soldiers

A “steady drumbeat of casualties” from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to the British Army carrying out fundamental reforms in the way it treated injured soldiers.

Commanders turn on Tories over defence 'cuts'

A key plank of the defence and foreign policy of a future Conservative government is a “fundamental misconception” that will cost “hundreds of millions of pounds”, according to Whitehall officials and eminent former military commanders.

Armed forces face 'tough choices' ahead, says minister

Britain's armed forces will have to co-operate more closely in future with international allies such as France to provide the full range of defence capabilities, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said today.

Hoon: Brown is to blame for Army shortages

Ex-Defence Secretary who tried to unseat PM tells inquiry: he refused to pay up

5,000 soldiers unfit for frontline, say Tories

Some 5,000 soldiers and officers are unfit to fight on the frontline, figures obtained by the Conservatives revealed.

Patrick Cockburn: The general is right. Liam Fox is wrong

The Taliban are able to present themselves as battling for Afghan independence

Dr Liam Fox: You Ask The Questions

The Shadow Defence Secretary and Tory MP for Woodspring answers your questions, such as 'Should we stay in Afghanistan?' and 'What challenges do you face?'

John Rentoul: Cameron is the new Blair

The Tory leader has learnt from New Labour not to promise too much. There's little danger of that
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Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker