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
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital