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.

Liberal Democrat Conference: Welfare State: New pension urged to beat `time bomb'

RADICAL PROPOSALS to reform the welfare state, including compulsory second pensions and the taxing of child benefit, were overwhelmingly endorsed by the conference, in spite of fierce protests that they went against the very principles of the Liberal Democrat Party.

Leading Article: The strange death of liberalism under Paddy Ashdown

PADDY ASHDOWN this week opens the most uneasy Liberal Democrat conference since he became leader 10 years ago. His situation is a paradox. He has the elixir of electoral reform - the one thing his party really, really wants - poised between cup and lip, and yet his party seems determined to jog his elbow.

Cabinet split over electoral reform

A CABINET split over electoral reform deepened yesterday after Jack Straw gave a clear warning to the Liberal Democrats that the Government did not have to buy a "pig in a poke" by accepting the recommendations of the Jenkins commission on proportional representation.

Poll shock: all men are mortal, even Tony

THE NATION has finally rumbled that Tony Blair, though an avowedly sincere Christian, is not actually the duo-millennial reincarnation of Jesus Christ the Saviour himself. Until recently, Blair's poll ratings were of a magnitude usually given only to political leaders who have just unleashed a bomb or an army. But an annual survey published last week showed that the percentage of respondents who agree that Mr Blair "has lots of personality" has fallen from 80 per cent to 60 per cent over the year. His "tough" quotient is down from 57 to 42; his "more honest than most politicians" factor is slashed from a triumphal 54 to a tragic 34; and his "arrogance" rating is up from 21 to 29, now standing a full 10 per cent higher than Paddy Ashdown's.

Ashdown retreats over electoral reform on eve of conference

PADDY ASHDOWN is willing to water down the Liberal Democrats' commitment to wholesale proportional representation as part of a deal with Tony Blair, which he hopes will get his party into a coalition government.

Right of Reply: Mike Gapes

A Labour MP responds to Ken Livingstone's case for proportional representation

Right of Reply: Djordje Mijalkovic

The Counsellor

Leading Article: Kosovo cannot wait

WHAT WILL it take to force Nato to act over Kosovo? Two hundred thousand civilians have been forced to flee their homes in the Serbian province. This ethnic terrorism must be stopped. Russian and German objections must be faced down.

MPs wait in wings to succeed Madam Speaker

THE LIMBERING up has already started for a candidate to replace Betty Boothroyd, as the Speaker of the House of Commons, although her last curtain call is likely to be some years away.

Parliament & politics: Sketch: An Old Labour warhorse springs to Lilley's defence

A TASTE of what might have been was given to the Tory party yesterday afternoon when Peter Lilley, the new deputy leader, stood in for William Hague, whose mum wouldn't let him come out to play as he was still laid up with flu. Mr Hague, the dynamic youngest Tory leader this century - personal trainer Seb Coe, expert in judo, careful with his diet - proved that good old-fashioned heavy smoking and drinking, to excess, is the only way to get through a career in Parliament.

Union leader attacks reform

TONY BLAIR'S vision of a new electoral system for Britain comes under fire today from one of his closest allies in the union movement.

Politics: Blair targets Tory peers

Tony Blair is planning to make inroads into the Tory majority in the Lords by announcing a working list 25 new life peers after the Queen's Birthday Honours List at the weekend.

Politics: Tories warned on Lords reform

THE THREAT of a constitutional crisis was stepped up last night after the Government warned it would use the Parliament Act to force through legislation to reform the House of Lords if Conservative peers used their majority to block it.

Londoners vote for a mayor by three to one

LONDON is to have an elected mayor for the first time after voters in the capital voted by three to one in favour of the move in yesterday's referendum.

A day from which all parties took comfort

ALL three parties were claiming victory last night as election results came in from 166 local authorities across England.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links