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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Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'