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Westminster Outlook Michael Fallon is Westminster's – and the world's – first land-dwelling, four-limbed octopus, his tentacles wrapped around Whitehall, circular suckers incapable of being removed from powerful ministries of state.

Lord Mandelson warns Ed Miliband and Ed Balls over Labour's links with unions

Former Business Secretary also said the party needed to spell out a clear economic message

Cosy, warm, cheery: Gay Hussar in Soho

Samuel Muston: Cosy and cheery - I see why Gay Hussar regulars are in a stew

When it was announced that the Gay Hussar restaurant in Soho was to be closed up and sold by its owners, Corus Hotels, its dedicated clientele were disconsolate. How, they asked in various newspapers and magazine columns, could this monument to Hungarian food and late 20th-century Labour politics be lost to the property spivs?

Royal Mail’s privatisation has been long delayed but it is welcome nonetheless

Life can be full of ironies. To make sure of meeting Tuesday night’s deadline I wanted to post an application for shares late on Friday night. When I got to the local pillar box it was blocked up, with the (not entirely necessary) inscription “box closed” where the collection times should be. I did suffer a moment’s hesitation about investing in this business. Not for long though.

Peter Mandelson, who this week said energy price freeze plans would be a 'step back for the party'

Labour power-bill freeze ‘will help two million firms’... but Coalition – and Lord Mandelson – are no fans of Ed Miliband's pledge

Former Labour business secretary says proposal to restrict bills for 20 months could undo years of his work under Blair and Brown

Blairites fight back with release of Damian McBride aides' emails

Hundreds of emails sent between Tony Blair’s closest allies as he fought with Gordon Brown for the leadership of the Labour Party were released tonight in an apparent attempt to pre-empt the serialisation of Damian McBride’s book.

Labour threatens to withdraw support for HS2 rail project

Labour has threatened to withdraw support for the HS2 rail project if the bill rises above £50 billion.

Graham Stringer wants Lord Mandelson (above) to return as the Opposition’s chief spin-doctor

Bring back Peter Mandelson, former whip Graham Stringer urges Ed Miliband

A former Labour whip has criticised Ed Miliband for his failure to “attack the Government” during the parliamentary recess and called for Lord Mandelson to return as the Opposition’s chief spin-doctor.

Will we need HS2? Of course not, in 20 years we'll have holograms says Ed Miliband's new business ambassador...

Lord Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former party spokesman in the Lords, said that he initially supported the £42.6 billion scheme but had changed his mind

Ken Clarke joins forces with Danny Alexander and Lord Mandelson to warn against EU exit

The intervention came as the cross-party British Influence group launches a manifesto titled Better off in a Better Europe

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Conservatives of the world,
Unite! Politics just got more difficult for the Opposition

The Tories, baying  at every mention  like a pantomime audience, lapped it up

Artist's impression of HS2, which is struggling with costs 13 years before it is due to carry its first passengers

'HS2 will be an expensive mistake': Lord Mandelson urges Government to abandon controversial rail link plans

Former Business Secretary says HS2 could 'damage' the northern regions it is intended to help

Andy McSmith's Diary: United they stand... not to mention stepping on toes

The original purpose for which the trade unions created the Labour Party was to get working-class representatives into Parliament. The old engineering union, the AUEW, which has now been absorbed in Unite, had a particularly strong record for taking members off the factory floor, training them up and getting them into Parliament.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Jemima Khan vs Peter Mandelson, Nigel Farage's UKIP fruitcake hangover and Christine Hamilton's 'enthusiastic' young friend goes it alone for the Tories

Jemima Khan, daughter of Sir James Goldsmith, who was arguably the stroppiest multi-millionaire of his generation, has met a lot of characters, from Nick Clegg to Julian Assange, but her encounter with Peter Mandelson, the old Labour spin master, was evidently of a different order.

John Prescott was one of many who took to twitter to voice their reaction to the Leveson report

John Prescott misses out on title of High Steward of Hull... to arch rival Peter Mandelson

Former Deputy Prime Minister irate at missing out on title

Labour says the working class no longer exists, so why do 60 per cent of us claim to belong to it?

When politicians who believe everyone is middle class see vast decaying housing estates, they must think someone’s having a giant dinner party with a Victorian theme.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine