News Norman Baker is at the top of the members' list of good performers

Home Office Minister has joined Vince Cable at the top of the members’ list of good performers

Leading article: A welcome blow against discrimination

Less than 50 years ago, homosexuality was illegal in Britain. The last half-century has seen a revolution in social attitudes since a pioneering Labour home secretary, Roy Jenkins, pushed through the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. This week, the Coalition's equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone, is expected to knock away another pillar in the ancient and unlovely edifice of institutionalised prejudice by announcing legal changes enabling gay men and lesbians to marry.

State and church clash on civil partnerships

The government risked a clash with the Church of England last night by backing calls to lift the ban on homosexual couples holding civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship.

Resistance mounts to gay couples being allowed to marry in church

Gay couples will be able to get married in churches under radical government reforms that risk divisions with the Tory right and faith groups.

Cowboy clampers pocket £55m a year

Cowboy clampers take up to £55 million from drivers every year, the Home Office said.

Vetting plan for shop staff is scaled down

Retail pharmacists and opticians will win a reprieve after it emerged the Government is poised to scale back the reach of its controversial Vetting and Barring Scheme, which would have covered some 100,000 staff.

Tom Sutcliffe: Secularism is the word Cameron is looking for

Social Studies: The only practical way to make the system fair is to make it equally unfair to all

Danish pastries all round, advises handbook for first-time ministers

A new manual offering the top ten tips for new members of Government reads like something from The Thick of It. Brian Brady investigates

Diary: Craig Oliver's special spin on the Sound of Music

As the two halves of my torn betting slip lay forlornly in the wastepaper basket, I wasn't the only one scratching my head and wondering who Craig Oliver is. Even Westminster's most experienced hacks described Andy Coulson's replacement as a man without a past. Yet how swiftly such a past can be cobbled together when Fleet Street's finest are on the case. Here, for your continued enjoyment, is a picture you'll surely be seeing more of: Oliver in lederhosen at a so-called "BBC charity event".

At last, the stigma of 50 years is removed

Gay men convicted for something no longer an offence win right for criminal records to be expunged

Ceri Goddard: Publicising pay differential is key to tackling it

The persistent gap in pay between men and women is one of the starkest examples of inequality in the UK today. Nationally, women can expect to earn roughly a sixth less than men, but the gap varies according to location and field.

Thousands set to protest against tuition fee rises

Thousands of students and lecturers up and down the country are expected to take to the streets today to demonstrate against the Government's proposals to treble university tuition fees.

Simon Carr: Timely gaffe provides welcome distraction from tuition fees vote

Sketch: However, ministers who abstain won't get a hospital – they'll find their jobs given to their PPS

Government scraps Labour's planned rules on equal pay

The Government has scrapped plans to force big businesses to disclose the difference in pay for men and women they employ, on the day it emerged that little progress had been made in bringing women into the boardroom.

David Prosser: A strange way to promote equal pay

Outlook Lynne Featherstone, the equalities minister, picked a curious venue to announce the Government is reversing plans for compulsory audits of what companies pay their male and female staff. The announcement came in a speech at Cranfield University's School of Management, as part of an event to promote its latest research into the progress of women in the boardroom.

Why are Asian women aspiring to Western ideals of beauty?

Asian and African women are aspiring to Western ideals of physical perfection – and the results are far from pretty
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'