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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn