News Charities say drug users are switching to alternative drugs created in laboratories because they know they are not breaking the law if they are caught in possession

Proposals "fetter UK's discretion", insists crime minister Norman Baker MP

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says Europe needs Britain

Sarkozy rages at Cameron as euro treaty doubts grow

Nicolas Sarkozy launched a personal attack on David Cameron yesterday amid growing signs that last week's agreement struck by the other 26 European Union countries without Britain is already fraying at the edges.

Leading article: A pass is for elected MPs, not for life

In some respects, the rules are clear. An MP who earns money outside Parliament which relates in any way to his status as an elected member of the legislature has to make a declaration. In writing. In a register that is regularly updated. There are penalties for those who do not comply. The boastful comments of Tim Collins, managing director of Bell Pottinger, as recently revealed in The Independent, might suggest that professional lobbyists, in contrast, live in a world where no rules apply. But that is not so.

EU 26 fight to stop pact unravelling

Several non-eurozone nations having doubts about 'fiscal compact', while Sarkozy inflames divisions with attack on 'kid' Cameron

The Weekend's Viewing: Black Mirror, Sun, Channel 4
Japan Tsunami: Caught on Camera, Sun, Channel 4

I can't remember whether I said something cynical when Channel 4 promised that it would divert the river of money it poured into Big Brother to irrigate original, one-off dramas, but if I did, may I offer a cautious apology.

The week's most amusing spectacle was unquestionably Nancy Dell'Olio at a celebrity event organised by the Huffington Post at Westfield shopping centre in London

DJ Taylor: Clichés – we're all in them together

It's been a bumper week for overworked phrases, self-delusion, and commercial irritations

Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying to call Bell Pottinger executives as witnesses

Nearly two-thirds of MPs want lobbyists registered, though support is lower among Conservatives
Jacob Rees-Mogg, left, appreciates the attire of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves

Diary: Call for decorum in handing out parking fines

Jacob Rees-Mogg, that priceless guardian of liberty, has come up with a cracking idea to improve the manners of council officials empowered to issue on-the-spot fines – make them wear bowler hats.

Ministers told to stop leaks to journalists

Ministers came under fire from MPs of all parties last night for routinely leaking their important announcements to the press.

Ministers to tackle 'national epidemic' of metal theft

Ministers are to expected to launch an assault this week on "crooked" scrapyards in an attempt to curb the "full-blown national epidemic" of metal thefts that threatens Britain's transport network.

Diary: So why is the Queen still waiting to speak?

The poor old Queen must be wondering how many days in her diary have to be kept blank while her ministers send out confusing messages as to when the next Queen's Speech is to be held.

Mario Monti, senator and the prime minister designate

Italian PM ready to announce new government

Mario Monti's race to have an emergency government in place by the weekend appeared assured of success yesterday when Silvio Berlusconi's anointed political heir said that parliament's biggest grouping, the People of Freedom party (PDL), was behind him.

David Cameron and the Australian premier, Julia Gillard, in Perth after the meeting of Commonwealth heads

Cameron and Clegg at odds over repatriation of powers from EU

Liberal Democrat leader says retiring to the margins of Europe would be 'economic suicide'

MP Mike Hancock took 'spy' on trips

An MP who had an affair with a Russian assistant now accused of being a spy paid for romantic trips abroad for them, her deportation hearing was told.

Government's drive to boost electric car sales falls flat

A government plan to make 2011 "the year the electric car took off" appears to have stalled, with uptake of a scheme to promote sales of environmentally friendly vehicles falling dramatically.

MI5 suspected MP's intern was 'another Anna Chapman'

Lawyers for a former parliamentary researcher accused of spying yesterday claimed MI5 had pursued her only due to imagined parallels to a high-profile Russian "honey-trap" case.

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Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
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L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
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Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
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Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
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Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
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Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect