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Speeches in the House of Commons by the Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg are an erudite comedy turn. As MPs debated the European Union (Approvals) Bill (Lords), which writes into British law two draft regulations passed by the Council of the European Union, only he thought it necessary to read into the official record part of what one of the regulations actually said.

The thrifty ways of the Fifties are hard to shake off

Raise a frugal toast to modern puritanism

Arguments around fracking and HS2 presuppose consumer need. But a tide against materialism would cause bigger shockwaves still

Dilnott-Cooper: his first job was accompanying Brooke Shields on a press tour of the United Kingdom

Rupert Dilnott-Cooper: ITV executive whose skills kept 'Spitting Image' out of trouble

As head of contracts and copyright at Central Independent Television, which became ITV's Midlands franchise holder in the 1980s, Rupert Dilnott-Cooper was given some of his biggest challenges by the producers of the satirical puppet series Spitting Image. His job was to protect Central from legal action, but he regarded the show as fun and always tried to find a way to ensure that its biting humour reached the screen.

For and against Maggie: when the Iron Lady stood (almost) alone

There are twice as  many names in the  'against us' column as in the 'for us' one

Salman Rushdie’s memoir of the fatwa years is ‘like nothing that has ever been written’

Memoir, by Joseph Anton

Where has this talent been hiding?

William Hague, Eric Pickles and Philip Hammond tell bosses to work harder

Three Cabinet ministers said yesterday that people and businesses in Britain will have to "work harder" if the economy is to start growing again – comments Labour said would "infuriate" the public.

Robin Scott-Elliot: BBC coverage needed Boris bombing into the Olympic pool

View From The Sofa: Olympics, BBC1; World Cup draw Sky Sports news

Speaker to trade places with Kabul counterpart

John Bercow is used to facing the flak as one of the most controversial speakers of the House of Commons in recent times. But he is about to embark on a journey which may give him an entirely new perspective on what that means.

A funny thing happened on my way to the dispatch box

Nick Clegg has been making free with his witticisms. He's not the first politician to fancy himself as a comedian, says Andy McSmith

The Sketch: A modern 'crapopolis' is the chosen setting for reaffirming vows

What was she doing with the apprentices – the nice-looking young blonde with the day-glo safety waistcoat and blue plastic bags over her work boots? The real apprentices were (rather touchingly) wearing suits and ties. She looked like a middle-class intern on a gap year. And her disguise was undermined by her manicure. Lovely pale pink nails. Buffed, probably. "She's there to give the impression there are more women involved in construction than there really are," one of the industry men said.

Is 'calm down, dear' really so offensive?

The PM's rebuke to Labour's Angela Eagle sparked snorts of laughter from his colleagues – and howls of derision from the Opposition. Here, we weigh up both sides of the argument...

House Doctor: 'I'm selling a flat that I have been renting out. Do I owe any tax?'

Question: My fiancé and I have lived together for more than two years and plan to marry next year. Having moved into his house, I plan to sell my old flat which I've let out for nearly two years. I've had a decent £240,000 offer but am wary about paying a lot of capital gains tax. Can I avoid this?

Norman Tebbit: True blue torch-bearer of the Tory right

From 'Chingford skinhead' to octogenarian blogger of Britain's decline, the Conservative peer remains a man of public passion and private pain. Matthew Bell meets Norman Tebbit

Vote reform opponents 'ridiculous'

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron bracketed David Cameron with BNP leader Nick Griffin today as he launched a broadside at the "reactionary and ridiculous" opponents of voting reform.

Tim Montgomerie: Only long-term plans will ease short-term pain

Some opinion polls suggest Labour is now opening up a double digit lead. As the cuts bite the unpopularity will only get worse. The Tory grassroots will absorb these mid-term blues if they think David Cameron has a long-term plan for victory.

Leading article: If Mr Osborne has got it wrong, he should start afresh

Unemployment looks likely to rise to 2.7 million while those in work see a fall in their real income
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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public