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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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Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
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Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
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Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
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Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
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sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
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Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
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The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
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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
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment