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

UK says a resounding 'NO' to AV

Campaigners against changing the way MPs are elected claimed a "resounding" victory tonight as the No camp gained an unassailable lead in the UK-wide referendum.

Cameron 'committed' to coalition

The coalition Government "is as good today as it was a year ago", Prime Minister David Cameron insisted today as the Liberal Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the local elections.

The Sketch: Normally I wouldn't dream of voting. It just distorts the result

Decision day. Fifteen hours to change the world. Did you feel the electricity in the air? Ed Miliband had sent his postal ballot to Doncaster. The very words crackle on the screen as they're typed.

Leading article: Banish apathy and vote to change politics for the better

Optimism is the appropriate mentality. We will see bottom-up politics in action

Row over campaign tactics sours Cabinet meeting

Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister, declared that the Conservatives are still “the nasty party” after an unprecedented bust-up over their tactics in the referendum campaign during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

AV referendum 'will change coalition' says Clegg

This week's referendum on voting reform will change the nature of the coalition Government, regardless of its result, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said today.

For the future of the Coalition, leaders play down the AV vitriol

Co-ordinated show of unity by Cameron and Clegg is undermined by continued sniping in the lower ranks

Leading article: Make this the last time you vote with an X

How often have politicians padded out speeches with phrases like these? "People should have more control over their lives"; "People rightly demand greater choice"; "Open up politics to give people more of a say"; or even, "Power to the people". On Thursday, we the people really do get our chance to have a say, and to take more power to ourselves.

Coalition feels the strain as AV argument heats up

The strained relations between the two Coalition parties over electoral reform took another nosedive yesterday when the Liberal Democrat president attacked both Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron.

Lib Dems: 'Corrupt system elected Thatcher'

The war of words over electoral reform flared up further today as a senior Liberal Democrat branded first-past-the-post a "corrupt" system which had allowed Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government to practise "organised wickedness" in the 1980s.

Andrew Grice: Miliband finds he has little room for manoeuvre on AV

Labour sympathisers cannot simply vote against the Coalition

Mary Ann Sieghart: Vote Yes for evolution, not revolution

The anger and scaremongering is so disproportionate to the reform you wonder if they're all looking at the same voting system

Child benefit cuts will hit not only affluent but low-income families as well

The Government's squeeze on child benefit will hit families on low to middle incomes as well as the better off, according to a new analysis for The Independent.

No more policy concessions to Lib Dems, Tories warn Cameron

David Cameron has been given a stark warning by Conservative Party activists not to offer any new policy concessions to Nick Clegg if the Liberal Democrats suffer big losses at the local elections next month.

Voting referendum neck-and-neck as Yes campaign gains support

The battle between the Yes and No camps before next month's referendum on the voting system is still wide open, according to a poll for The Independent. The findings will come as a relief to supporters of a switch to the alternative vote (AV) after recent surveys gave the No camp a lead of more than 10 points.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable