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Francis Walsingham, who ran Elizabeth I’s secret service, built up a vast spy network to protect the Queen against the very real risk of assassination.

How C. difficile caused a seismic shift in health policy

The arrival of a virulent new strain of Clostridium difficile in Britain in the early 2000s caused a medical and political firestorm, led to hundreds of deaths and claimed the scalps of several NHS trust chief executives.

John Rentoul: The man who could have changed it all

Alan Johnson ducked his chance to be leader of his party, and David Cameron was the lucky beneficiary

John Rentoul: The shape of things to come

As the Lib Dems hold their ground, the Cameron and Brown camps must determine the price of victory

Two more 'in lobbying scandal'

Two more ex-Labour ministers were drawn into the lobbying scandal last night, after claims they had been secretly recorded offering to exploit government contacts to help business clients – for fees of up to £2,500 a day.

Geoff Hoon asked to relinquish Nato role

Former defence secretary Geoff Hoon was dropped from a Nato committee following his involvement in the lobbygate row, it emerged.

Nato asks Geoff Hoon to step down as policy expert

Geoff Hoon was yesterday asked to step down from his duties at Nato following his involvement in the "cash for access" scandal. Nato's secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, asked the former British Defence Secretary to withdraw from a group of 12 policy experts drafting the military alliance's new mission statement after he learnt of Mr Hoon's suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Simon Carr: Just another dark day in a very gloomy year for Hoon and Hewitt

Sketch: We are just in the foothills of shame, really. Onwards and upwards!

Harriet Harman denies ex-ministers influenced decisions

Commons leader Harriet Harman denied today that ministers had been influenced by the alleged lobbying of former Cabinet ministers into making improper decisions.

Andrew Grice: Labour madness over lobbying scandal

Some "friends" of Gordon Brown are putting it about that he won't really be damaged much by the lobbying allegations against Stephen Byers, Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon because the three former Cabinet ministers are Blairites.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: The future of politics lies with women

The leaders are trying to charm us with vacuous words and meaningless policies

Ministers furious at new lobbying 'scandal'

Byers, Hewitt and Hoon face sleaze inquiry over 'cash-for-access' allegations

Blairite star Purnell quits as MP

As Labour unveils ‘A future fair for all’ campaign slogan, former minister tipped as future leader shocks party

Ex-minister Hoon to stand down as MP

Former defence secretary Geoff Hoon is to stand down from Parliament at the election this year, it was announced today.

John Rentoul: The biggest loser from this election will be positive politics

We are in the run-up to an anti-politics election. It is a dismal, life-denying prospect

Labour MPs rally behind Brown after plot

Gordon Brown drew the final line under the failed backbench coup against him by declaring last night that Britain's "hard-won economic recovery" could still be Labour's platform for election victory.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

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The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
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Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star