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Outlook When the Payments Council decided so few people use cheques these days that it could safely announce their abolition in a few years' time, it dropped an enormous clanger. The protests were so noisy that it was forced into aU-turn – and now the Treasury Select Committee wants to see its powers reined in.

Coastguard centres saved from the axe

The number of coastguard centres being closed by the Government has been reduced from 11 to eight, the Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday.

Labour peers could lose their holidays if they block AV Bill

Peers are being warned they could be forced to sit through the night – and have their half-term break delayed – if they continue to thwart moves to hold a referendum on electoral reform.

Video: Balls takes on Osborne for the first time

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has clashed with George Osborne for the first time in the House of Commons.

Lords deadlock over vote reform is broken

A 15-day stand-off in the House of Lords over the Government's constitutional reform plans appeared to be at an end last night after the Coalition announced a "package of concessions" to break the deadlock.

Lord Sugar fails to impress in House

As Lord Sugar of Clapton serves his apprenticeship in the House of Lords, records show he has voted only three times in the past year.

Minor British Institutions: the postcode

The postcode is another triumph of pioneering British bureaucracy. Sir Rowland "Penny Post" Hill split London into ten compass-point districts in 1856; the current code took 15 years to arrive after its trial in Norwich in 1959.

Leading article: Lesser lords

Once upon a time, wealthy men would pay to get into the House of Lords. Now they give up their seats in the legislature to avoid paying their fair share of tax to the Exchequer. Yesterday we learnt that three Conservative peers – Lord Bagri, Lord Laidlaw and Lord McAlpine – have resigned their seats, rather than rescind their privileged non-domiciled tax status. So much for noblesse oblige.

Peers have expenses reduced to £300 a day

Members of the House of Lords have had their allowances cut for the first time, following the parliamentary expenses scandal. In future, they will be able to claim a maximum of £300 a day, instead of the present £335.50, and will lose a range of perks.

Lords expenses scheme to be unveiled



Peers face a 15% cut in their allowances under a new House of Lords expenses scheme being unveiled today.

Be prepared for the biggest political shake-up since the Great Reform Act

There remains the issue of how constitutional change, welcome though it may be, should be brought about.

Travel Agenda: Love Your Museum weekend; Madeira Flower Festival; Houses of Parliament tour

Today: The 11 cultural institutions nominated for this year's Art Fund Prize, from the Ashmolean in Oxford to the Ulster Museum in Belfast, are staging a Love Your Museum weekend, with special events and activities (artfundprize.org.uk). The event coincides with National Museum Weekend in Holland, with over 500 institutions offering free or reduced admission (holland.com/uk).

David Taylor

In his obituary of the MP David Taylor (29 December), Tam Dalyell wrote, "In 2006, in my capacity as Father of the House of Commons, I was invited by the England Central Woodlands Project to open one of their new forest developments, part of which was in the North-West Leicestershire constituency."

Village people: 19/12/2009

Flying the flag for patriotism

*Andrew Rosindell the Conservative MP for Romford, is known as the candidate who first won his seat campaigning with a bulldog dressed in a Union flag.

Jerome Taylor: I was questioned over my harmless snapshot

I was on the South Bank of the Thames trying to compose a shot of the Houses of Parliament last week when two police officers stopped me.

Big Ben to celebrate 150th anniversary

Big Ben will celebrate its 150th anniversary tomorrow.

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The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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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