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.

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.

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.

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: 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.

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.

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.
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
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Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried