New Articles 16-year-old William Hague rails against the evils of socialism in his famous speech to the Conservative Party conference in 1977

The annual release of secret papers from the National Archive reveals Mrs Thatcher’s scornful response to a plan to put the precocious young Tory in the Treasury

Leading Article: This mayoral contest is damaging both main parties

AS THE twists and turns of the London mayor story continue to imitate art, two observations arise. The first is that the Conservative Party is in deeper trouble than anyone realised. William Hague is in many ways an admirable politician, but it is becoming clearer by the day that he is not the right politician for the Conservatives at this juncture of their great party's history. And he has lost a great deal of credibility in the London mayoral imbroglio. Not only did he endorse Jeffrey Archer in unwisely fulsome terms, but he also made a serious error of judgement in supporting the ban on the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools - an issue that came up because Steven Norris opposed it.

Senior Tories are `embarrassed' by Norris rejection

TORY MAYOR RACE Former transport minister was derailed by letter from angry women in his one-time Essex constituency

The Week In Westminster: Food will be undoing of Brown hy

NICK BROWN'S number could be up next year, quite apart from this week's slap in the face when the French insisted on keeping the ban on British beef. The Agriculture Minister's department could be disbanded when the Food Standards Agency comes into operation, allowing farming matters to be merged into a new countryside ministry.

Michael Portillo: Charm offensive

Crushed and defeated at the last election, Michael Portillo is back and beaming after his by-election victory. Photographer David Modell charted his triumphal return to the hustings. Introduction by Donald Macintyre

How we met: Michael Portillo; Laurence Marks

Tory MP Michael Portillo, 46, was born in London and lives there still, with his wife, Carolyn. As a member of John Major's cabinet, he was first Secretary of State for Employment, and then for Defence. After losing his seat in the 1997 general election, he has just made a triumphant return to politics, after being elected to be the Member for Kensington and Chelsea

Parliament: The Sketch: Farmer Brown's performance upstaged by arrival of city slicker Labour muck-spreader spatters front benches with nonsense

I FELL ASLEEP during environment questions and had an unpleasant dream about swimming across a stagnant pond with a large plastic bag over my head. I suppose I should be ashamed of myself but I would cite two things in mitigation: first, the overpoweringly anaesthetic nature of the question that finally put me under - an inquiry about the auditing of parish councils - and second, that even as my forehead drooped towards the press gallery railing, my mind was struggling to produce an appropriate metaphor for such asphyxiating proceedings.

FOCUS: THE TORIES IN TURMOIL: Eight fatal days when Hague lost control

The Conservative leader took a huge gamble backing Jeffrey Archer and Michael Ashcroft - it backfired in spectacular fashion

Football: Citizen Dan on coach journey to a new future

Chelsea's Romanian has developed into a formidable force.

The well-heeled of Kensington vote with their feet to make no party really happy

FOR MICHAEL PORTILLO the result was little short of perfect. But for Mr Hague, the outcome was yet another disappointment. Mr Portillo's re-entry into Westminster politics has predictably raised large questions about the future of his party.

Leading Article: After a bad week for the Tories, Mr Portillo's return is a mixed blessing

LAST WEEK was a remarkable one for British politics. We witnessed the reversal of the old adage that the governing party always suffers a mid-term crisis. Instead, it is the Opposition who have imploded, the collapse in Conservative fortunes having been only slightly relieved by retaining the safe Kensington and Chelsea seat and the return of Michael Portillo to Parliament. The triple whammy of Archer, Ashcroft and Hamilton drove the Tory leadership into paroxysms of paranoia not seen since the darkest days of John Major. Such traumas - and no one even mentioned Europe.

Letter: Sleaze breeds apathy

Sir: On Thursday the good folk of the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea voted on the state of British politics at the end of the 1990s. Over 70 per cent made it clear that they want nothing to do with the whole miserable affair.

The Sketch: MPs find dubious alibis for not consorting with Archer jokes

IT WAS 2.33pm and the runners and riders in the Archer stakes were under starter's orders. Who would be the first to make a joke about the disgraced Conservative candidate for London mayor and exactly how long would it take them to get to the line?

Leading Article: Just a rumour

ONE OF the biggest threats to civilisation as we know it posed by the Internet, it is alleged, is that it is a massive marketplace of unchecked rumour.

Letter: Portillo's hypocrisy

CONTRARY TO your suggestions ("Stay out of poll, Tatchell told", 14 November), I have not been pressured by Labour officials to keep clear of Kensington and Chelsea. Nor has Stephen Twigg MP, or any other gay Labour Party member, asked me not to get involved in the by-election.
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'