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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.

Sarah Sands: We love romantics. We just don't expect them to win

Recommending Michael Foot for a job on the Evening Standard, Aneurin Bevan said to its proprietor, Lord Beaverbrook: "I've got a young bloody knight errant here." The description held true. Political and journalistic opponents paid tribute to Foot last week with a mixture of wonder and exasperation. The Daily Mail's obituary was a version of the famous American epitaph for Foot's spiritual predecessor, Thomas Paine: "He had lived long, did some good and much harm."

Leading article: The Chancellor's slings and arrows can wound

Mr Darling's defence is also an attack on leadership at Number 10

No 10 urged to probe bullying claims

Conservative leader David Cameron and his Liberal Democrat counterpart Nick Clegg both called on 10 Downing Street today to look into allegations of bullying of staff.

Ruddigore, Grand Theatre, Leeds<br/>Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Festival Hall, London<br/>Jurowski/OAE, Roundhouse, London

Spared some creaking old traditions, a bright new production of a Gilbert and Sullivan oddity comes up roses

Mark Steel: Just who do you vote for given this appalling choice?

The moment you think of voting Labour, up pops the unregretful Blair

Exclusive: Vote of no confidence in Tory economic policies

Poll lead slips to 7 points as vast majority of voters say Cameron should be clearer about plans for cuts

Letters show how Brown tried to heal rift with Mowlam

PM's 'emotional' correspondence with dying MP was an attempt to end their long-standing feud

John Rentoul: Lives of Peter Mandelson

Along with Andrew Roberts, Matthew d'Ancona, Stephen Bayley, Iain Dale and John Kampfner, I was asked by Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, to write a mock obituary of Peter Mandelson for the January issue. Now that the February issue is out, I reprint my contribution here.

Bruce Anderson: All of Brown's Cabinet now want him to lose the next election

Mandelson's position is without precedent in British politics &ndash; he's choreographer-in-chief

Balls goes on attack, but Brown and Miliband now in 'cold war'

Minister defends aggressive campaign as PM's relations with Foreign Secretary hit a new low

Steve Richards: The only certainty about this plot: it will damage Labour

The madness of this move overwhelms the reason

Donald Macintyre: Will they, won't they launch a coup?

You can't find a Labour figure who doesn't believe their chances better without Brown

Steve Richards: So who said what to whom? The truth about the cuts debate

The decision to put up taxes again caused angst beyond the Treasury

Bob Ainsworth: You Ask The Questions

The Defence Secretary answers your questions, such as 'Why is our Army so poorly equipped?' and 'Do you regret voting for the Iraq war?'

Lord Browne returns to public life to chair student fees review

Lord Browne, the ex BP boss once said to be Prime Minister Tony Blair’s favourite captain of industry, returned to the public spotlight today – just two years after dramatically quitting as head of the oil giant after admitting lying to a court.

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newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
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Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
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Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker