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.

Cook adds voice to `fair' votes system

ROBIN COOK is ready to signal his support for a compromise over electoral reforms which could give Tony Blair's government the prospect of two decades in power.

Blair paves way for Labour losses

THE Prime Minister yesterday prepared the ground for Labour losses in tomorrow's local elections with party fears that complacency would keep the voters at home.

Plan to deal with freed paedophiles

A NATIONAL committee is to be set up to handle the release and supervision of high-profile paedophiles like Sidney Cooke.

Letter: Government of Scotland

Letter: Government of Scotland

Party leaders unite to condemn racism in Britain

PARTY leaders last night united in an attack on the scourge of racism after The Independent urged them to join forces with Tony Blair to celebrate the multi-culturalism of Britain. Their unity is a direct response to deep-seated concerns over racismand underlines a growing determination to tackle it head-on.

Paddy Ashdown speaks of his life on the dole

PADDY ASHDOWN will today tell of the worst moment of his life - the day when he had to sack himself and 30 people who worked under him, writes Paul Routledge.

Backbench threat to Brown's tight rein

THE CHANCELLOR is facing a fresh Labour backbench rebellion over his refusal to abandon the spending limits inherited from the Tories to boost the health and education budgets.

Demanding job that has to bring its own reward

As leader of the Conservative Party, William Hague is permitted the comparative luxury of a private secretary, two assistant private secretaries, a diary secretary and a personal secretary in addition to his team of press secretaries, researchers and volunteers. But as former Conservative Cabinet ministers have recently been reminded, such back-up is well beyond the means of the ordinary MP, for his or her modest salary will stretch only to one Commons secretary and a researcher. The average Commons secretary can expect long hours and a punishing workload. Her role tends to be an all-consuming, highly sensitive and in many ways precarious one, requiring a level of dedication and devotion which to many may appear nothing short of a labour of love.

Politics: MPs in Murdoch challenge

THE LIBERAL Democrats last night leaked the outline of a high- level Labour Party discussion, attended by Tony Blair, agreeing that "representations" should be made to ministers about predatory pricing in the newspaper industry.

Politics: Lib Dems get female shadows

Every one of the Liberal Democrats' 46 MPs is to have a female "shadow", the party announced yesterday.

Unwanted house guests: Paddy Ashdown killed my guinea pig ...

Guess who's coming to dinner? If you live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne forget seeing your mother-in-law, it's more likely to be a leader of a political party. Yesterday, Paddy Ashdown's aides let it be known that the Lib Dem leader was off on a fact-finding mission spending the night with a family that knows what it's like to live on benefits.

On a mission

Paddy Ashdown was the guest last night of a family living on a rundown estate in Newcastle upon Tyne who have survived on benefits.

Tory Scandal: Web of secrecy cloaks the truth about policy on donations

The Tories have "very strict rules" banning anonymous donations to party funds, Sir Norman Fowler, chairman of the party, told a Commons investigation in June 1993. Anthony Bevins, Political Editor, explores the tight secrecy that surrounds party funding.

Politics: Blair tightens grip on levers of power

The Prime Minister tightened his grip on Government policy yesterday, taking charge of a public campaign for welfare reform and setting up a new ministerial control unit in No 10. Anthony Bevins, Political Editor, examines moves that could squeeze the Chancellor's power base.

i wish they would ...

Debbie Barham suggests how the great and the good could make themselves even greater and better in 1998.
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee