News The refurbished residence of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in Limburg, Germany

As a concession to belt-tightening, the decision by a sybaritic German bishop to take a budget airline flight to Rome, is looking like too little, too late.

EC anger at currency traders

BRUSSELS - While the European Commission formally declined any comment on the state of the European Monetary System, there was increasing anger behind the scenes yesterday that the ideal of monetary union risks destruction at the hands of speculative traders, writes Sarah Lambert.

The Vote of Confidence: National tensions 'threaten unity'

WHILE Parliament and the courts dispute the Maastricht treaty, the fate of European union is being fought out on other battlefields.

The Maastricht Debate: Waverers met with more subtle methods: The Whips: Ministers and MPs are brought in from sick beds to take part in vital vote

THE SIGNAL that the Government was in trouble came at 7.55pm when Michael Heseltine, recovering from a heart attack, was taken from his London home for the knife-edge votes in the Commons, writes Colin Brown.

The Maastricht Debate: Major faces the ultimate challenge: Today's Commons motion: This House has confidence in the policy of the Government on the adoption of the protocol on social policy

JOHN MAJOR put his leadership on the line and pushed his party to breaking point last night after he had crashed to Commons defeat on Maastricht, stripping him of the immediate parliamentary authority to ratify the treaty.

The Maastricht Debate: Kinnock savours a fine revenge amid Labour jubilation

LABOUR MPs punched the air and cheered as if they had already won the election that was threatened by the Government's defeat.

The Maastricht Debate: Major 'driven to confidence factor': Commons Exchanges: Treaty issue 'cannot fester any longer'

THE Prime Minister had 'been driven to use the confidence factor' because he could not win a vote on the Social Chapter in any other way, John Smith, the Labour leader, told the Commons, amid the tumult which followed the Government's defeat by 324 votes to 316 last night.

The Maastricht Debate: Former MP firm in casting vote: The Speaker: Rare intervention keeps Boothroyd in spotlight

THE DRAMATIC use of the casting vote from the Speaker's chair, as employed by Betty Boothroyd in the first of last night's votes on the Maastricht treaty, is rare but not unprecedented, writes Andrew Gliniecki.

Treaty Tightrope: Major's head on the Maastricht block: How the ratification votes tomorrow could add up to a triumph for the Prime Minister or precipitate his downfall

MUCH OF the Maastricht debate is double-Dutch to all but the most assiduous MPs, and hundreds of Tory MPs are still not certain how they are going to vote in the two Commons divisions tomorrow night; they will be at the disposal of their whips.

Go to the country? Help, let's go to the Queen]

HE HAS NOT lost yet. Some of the rebels may have human frailties (though it seems unlikely). The Chief Whip, Richard Ryder, has privately advised Government colleagues that he expects a defeat, but he and his team are exerting maximum pressure for victory. Propelling pencils will be driven up nostrils, the existence of mistresses revealed to wives, wives revealed to sobbing mistresses. Quite right: given that this may be their last chance of saving Mr Major's leadership, it is the whips' high duty to behave abominably. Let them gouge and flay away.

Rebels threaten to vote Major out: Tories say they will support a censure motion to prevent ratification of Maastricht in defiance of the House

HARD-CORE Tory rebels warned last night that they might vote against John Major on a Commons censure motion - and force his resignation as Prime Minister - if he threatened to defy a Social Chapter defeat in the House on Thursday.

Labour's Maastricht timebomb primed to detonate next week: Anthony Bevins looks at the parliamentary amendment that may yet wreck the treaty

THE CONCEPT of the ticking timebomb, a killer Labour amendment that could be planted at the heart of the Maastricht legislation, was the creation of George Robertson, the Opposition frontbench spokesman on Europe.

Inside Parliament: Thatcher: 'Surrender no more': 'The people's turn to speak', says former PM - Referendum call 'tactical ploy', says Jenkins

Conservatives defying the Government with Baroness Thatcher and Lord Tebbit included Lord Beloff, former chancellor of the University of Buckingham; Lord Donaldson of Lymington, former Master of the Rolls; Lord Parkinson, former Tory party chairman; Lord Rees-Mogg, former editor of the Times; Lord Spens, former managing director, Henry Ansbacher; and Lord Hamilton, brother of Archie Hamilton, the former defence minister.

Denham denies 'backwoodsmen' have Lords role: Anthony Bevins hears former Tory chief whip nail 'a mythical beast'

THE ROMANTIC picture of Lords backwoodsmen being rallied to save or cook the Government's goose in tonight's vote on a Maastricht treaty referendum has been scornfully dismissed by Lord Denham, former Government chief whip in the upper House.
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee