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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.

65,000 towels... 8 trampolines... Olympic organisers go shopping

British businesses battle for contracts worth £1.7bn to kit out the 2012 Games

Drive for state control 'punishes' universities

Outgoing standards chief warns blueprint from MPs is like 'Spanish Inquisition'

Berbatov battles to win Old Trafford's affection

Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

Brown's Baroness emerges from the shadows

Baroness Cathy Ashton is one of the lowest-profile ministers to have served in Gordon Brown's Cabinet. But she has impressed observers since moving to Brussels last year to replace Peter Mandelson as Trade Commissioner.

Simon Carr: Is Party support draining from a deflated PM?

The Sketch

It’s not so much a premiership as a medical condition. The poor fellow is sick. Look at him, he’s ill. It’s a self-inflicted illness but nonetheless deserving of sympathy. He was prepared to take the risk, he fought to take it, now he suffers the consequence of a wasting illness that saps his strength, his energy, his pleasure in life. He’s a brave heart, he’s a fighter, but the power of positive thinking is just prolonging the agony.

Postal workers fear 'revenge' plan

The postal workers leader today accused Royal Mail of having a "cynical" plan to sideline the union involved in a bitter dispute over jobs and pay as the company braces itself for a national strike.

Labour conference diary: Ainsworth listens to soldier's tale

"As I sit here, my legs are aching," Stuart Trow said. "I've got a bullet in my buttock and that's not comfortable."

King courtier: Lord Mandelson

He's made the most spectacular comeback in modern politics and kept his old rival in post. No wonder the First Secretary is on the march

Mandelson should face MPs, says Speaker

Lord Mandelson should be forced to face questions from MPs because of his growing influence over government policy, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said.

Derek Simpson: With friends like these, Gordon Brown has no need of enemies

Jane Merrick meets the joint leader of Unite, ahead of the TUC conference in Liverpool

Mandy leaves hospital all smiles

Peter Mandelson left hospital in good spirits yesterday after undergoing an operation for an enlarged prostate gland.

Brown must step down this summer, says Labour donor

PM who 'seems to slip on every banana skin' should give new leader time to settle in before next election

Leading article: An unsatisfactory public appointment

Three years ago the Government decided to merge the old Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission in a brand new body, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The argument was that this quango would inaugurate a fresh era of opportunity for the dispossessed and marginalised. Three years later, that dream lies in tatters as the body's accounts have been rejected by the National Audit Office, six of its commissioners have resigned and its chairman, Trevor Phillips, is widely criticised as not up to the job.

Diane Abbott: Stop talking. Start delivering...

Black people have watched Phillips' interventions with mounting dismay

Mandelson admits Labour will make 'a decade of cuts'

Lord Mandelson has admitted that Britain faces a decade of public spending cuts even if Labour wins the next election.

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property
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Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
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Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
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England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

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Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

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‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

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