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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.

Leading article: Some decent ideas – but the key test will be delivery

It will take considerable determination to uproot the target culture

The feral beast: Jacko's part in Lawson's fall

Michael Jackson’s death may bring back painful memories for Dominic Lawson.

Ups and downs of the Peter and Gordon show

An old friend who turned into a bitter foe has come to the PM's rescue, says Andrew Grice

Simon Carr: True lies... a masterclass in the art of interview

The Sketch: Why aren't people rallying to Peter Mandelson as next leader of the Labour Party?

Melanie McDonagh: The meanie justifies the 'envy'

The great thinkers would be unimpressed by Anthony Steen's claim that we are jealous of his large house

People's Prince of Darkness and Labour's three-way marriage

In the marriage of the three people at the heart of New Labour, he is the wounded party who has bravely kept his counsel until he could hide the truth no more, and he has now told his story in a lip-trembling interview in which real tears were never far away.

Bruce Anderson: It's time for a new big idea. But who's going to have it?

How to harmonise economic growth and low inflation has long been our difficulty

Why I threw green custard over the Business Secretary

Peter Mandelson epitomises all that is wrong with our democratic system. His CV is a reason for us to give up on democracy and take direct action. After several disgraces and resignations, Mandelson is back from exile in Europe to be shoe-horned into government as an unelected minister, via an archaic loophole which allows the Prime Minister to create peers and place them in power for his own political ends. This is what democracy in the UK looks like.

Mandelson 'slimed' by green protestor

A climate change activist threw a cup of green "slime" over Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today as he arrived at the launch of the Government's low carbon economy summit.

Mandelson's warning to opponents of Royal Mail deal

Critics of part-privatisation could help deliver election to Tories, minister claims

Jeremy Warner: Suez wants slice of UK nuclear

Outlook Blimey. Here's a Government policy that seems to be actually working. Ministers declared that they were keen to encourage competition in the construction of new nuclear power stations and that's precisely what they seem to be getting. News yesterday that GDF Suez is clubbing together with Iberdrola to bid for the sites owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority brings to three the number of consortia which have declared plans for new nuclear build in Britain.

Robin Scott-Elliot: Doyle's sleight of hand no match for Sheringham's Lord Flashheart

View From The Sofa: FA Cup Live and Highlights, ITV1, Saturday

Leading article: A big beast at home in the jungle

It is not hard to imagine the agonising that has gone on in the upper echelons of the Conservative Party about whether to bring back Kenneth Clarke. The former Chancellor warrants the description "big beast" simply by virtue of his positions in governments past. But he is not one of those whose distinction has been frozen in time; the description remains valid, more than a decade after he retired to the backbenches.

Even now, parties move on to war footing

The next general election may be 18 months away, but behind the scenes all the players are preparing the ground

Colette Bowe to chair Ofcom

Colette Bowe, already an Ofcom board member, will become the regulator's chairman when Lord Currie steps down at Easter. The 61-year old will serve a five-year term with an annual salary of £200,000.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
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Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all