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.

Liam Fox: Why the Conservatives say we must stay on in Afghanistan

It has not been an easy week for British troops in Afghanistan. Two soldiers were killed by improvised explosive devices, which cause more than 80 per cent of our fatalities in Afghanistan. Five more were killed when an Afghan policeman opened fire on his British mentors.

Brown retreats over TA training cuts

Gordon Brown staged a dramatic climbdown over cost-cutting plans to suspend routine training for the Territorial Army.

Tory storms face MoD's weather forecasters

Britain's weather forecasters face being sold off under Tory plans to save money, said the shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox. He said the Met Office, now owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), could be privatised to save cash if the Conservatives win power.

The Sketch: There's a new order – and Harriet will run it

The swan will not fly. The sunfish will not swim. Harriet Harman will not run for Labour leader. The natural world is running on new rules. Maybe it's global warming.

'Endemic' problems on MoD kit purchases

The Government’s system for purchasing defence equipment is in such a state that “the problems and sums of money involved have almost lost their power to shock, so endemic is the issue”, according to an official report.

Tories plan to slash MoD costs by 25%

The Tories aim to slash 25 per cent off the cost of running the Ministry of Defence as part of a sweeping review of the UK's military capabilities, it emerged today.

Labour's fiercest critic on Afghan war gets Tory job

Sir Richard Dannatt, the former head of the Army who has criticised the Government over its tactics in Afghanistan, is to become a Tory adviser on defence policy.

Brown in row over sending more troops to Afghanistan

Gordon Brown was embroiled in a bitter row with the former head of the Army today over claims that he turned down pleas for more troops in Afghanistan.

Liam Fox: History does not show that war in Afghanistan is unwinnable

We can describe failure in Afghanistan, but can we describe success? What does our idea of winning look like? Success in Afghanistan will be achieved when we have a stable enough Afghanistan, able to manage its own internal and external security to a degree that stops interference from outside powers and allowing the country to resist the establishment of terror bases and the training camps that were there before.

MoD's £35bn defence black hole is 'lethal'

Government has wasted taxpayers' money for a decade, leaked report shows

Pandora: Cameron's swinging plans on spending

David Cameron has been at pains to talk tough of late when it's come to his party's future spending plans.

Stop MoD payouts appeal, says Minister's aide

An aide to Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth today urged him to drop his appeal against compensation awards to two injured servicemen.

Fight for our veterans: 'Operation claw back compensation'

Chorus of disapproval greets launch of MoD's legal action to reduce payments made to injured soldiers

Shot soldier has to fight on two fronts

A British soldier was at the centre of two major battles today - fighting the Taliban and in a Government court challenge over injury compensation for the armed forces.

The Sketch: Left to right, and back to front

It's too heavy to get angry, so let's sit in this fridge and wonder why the Gordon Balls axis of persuasion makes us so hot under the collar.

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Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked