Arts and Entertainment Ed Miliband told Kirsty Young his relationship with brother David was 'healing'

Forget policy proposals, it is the choices made by political leaders on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that really give the public a chance to see into both their souls and their desire to be seen as accessible.

Soldiers prepare the ceremonial cannons before Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Bishop Rt Rev Tim Ellis warns that £10m cost of Margaret Thatcher's funeral is 'asking for trouble'

A senior Anglican clergyman from Baroness Thatcher’s home town has criticised the cost of her funeral – saying the decision to spend an estimated £10m of public money on the ceremony was a “mistake”.

Anthony Atkinson, Ian McEwan and John le Carré

Nobel Prizes: The other Team GB poised for the podium

After a summer of sporting glory, might Britain punch above its weight in the intellectual Olympics, aka the Nobel Prizes? Team GB has landed 17 Nobels since 2000, among them Sir John Gurdon, who won the prize for physiology or medicine this week.

John Kampfner: I wouldn't think Tony wants to Spice up his life

I have a confession to make that will destroy what cred I ever had. I loved the Spice Girls. When my daughters were small, they would sit glued to the box watching the glammy, glitzy airheads. I was gutted when I couldn't come with them to a concert, but I did make it to a Destiny's Child gig.

Diary: Coogan's critics are hacked off

The fun-loving comedian Steve Coogan must have been feeling rather pleased with himself when he got the chance to twist the knife into his vanquished foes at the News of the World last Friday night. The comic put in an entertaining turn on BBC2's Newsnight and, such was his antipathy towards the tabloid's former hack Paul McMullan, the old charmer even admirably managed not to be distracted by presenter Emily Maitlis's critically acclaimed calves throughout.

Lib Dems move HQ from rabbit warren to 'The Thick of It'

Political plotting is harder in an open-plan office. After three decades, the Liberal Democrats are to quit the wood-panelled rabbit warren of their Cowley Street headquarters for minimalist offices in one of the most exclusive streets in Westminster.

Paddy Ashdown hits out at PM AV campaign

David Cameron was today urged to distance himself from the "deeply personalised" attacks against Nick Clegg by the No to AV campaign.

Diary: Ministry for silly honours

After being reminded that John Cleese can understandably take exception to ill-founded fears his funny bone may have been surgically removed in recent years, I would like to place on record the confident belief his best work could still be ahead of him. (Just pretend it's some other bloke in those rubbish AA adverts). Now the old boy proudly informs us that he wouldn't still be plain old Mr Cleese to you and I, if he had seen fit to accept a peerage from Paddy Ashdown back in 1999.

Labour is No help for Cameron

David Cameron is to take the unprecedented step of joining senior Labour politicians to campaign against the alternative vote, in the clearest sign yet that the No camp fears it could be defeated in next month's referendum.

Village People: Clegg's remote control

Nick Clegg earned plaudits from the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown for his masochistic decision to appear in a television debate with an audience of 20 students.

The Sketch: Standards are slipping, as the Lords debate stuck to party lines

When did the Lords get so dull? Maybe there was more to the hereditary principle than we thought. They still limp, hobble and doze in their attractive way – I feel more and more sympathetic towards them – but last night all the argument fell out on party lines and no one said anything unexpected. That's not right, is it? Paddy Ashdown made the best speech – that's what today's House of Lords is like.

Ministers set to wrangle over cuts to the last minute

The man responsible for overseeing huge spending cuts admitted last night that there was still a "long way to go" to reach a deal over where they would be made.

Sir Cyril Smith: Idiosyncratic and larger-than-life Liberal politician who never shied away from falling out with his own party

Neither Liberals nor Liberal Democrats have much of a record winning seats from Labour in the North of England.

Laws resigns following expenses allegations

The Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition suffered a major blow tonight as David Laws was forced to resign over expenses abuse allegations.

Laws claimed £40,000 to rent rooms from partner

David Laws was embroiled in a damaging row over his expenses last night after it emerged that he had handed his long-term partner tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there