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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.

MP quits aide role over mail privatisation plan

A ministerial aide quit today in protest at Government plans to partly privatise the Royal Mail.

The Lord who put the bounce into Brown

Lord Mandelson says his new role at Gordon Brown's side is to make the Brownites and Blairites laugh together again. Others insist the 'Prince of Darkness' is no jester, but really the new Deputy Prime Minister, reports Andrew Grice

Mandelson denies suggesting joining euro

The Business Secretary Peter Mandelson today denied that he was responsible for suggestions that the Government could consider taking Britain into the euro in the face of the economic downturn.

Mandelson warned not to backtrack on flexibility rights

Peter Mandelson has been warned not to back down from giving flexible working rights to millions of working parents by the woman who came up with the Government's plan to extend the scheme.

Mandelson urges Obama to resist US protectionists

The Business Secretary Peter Mandelson last night urged Barack Obama not to retreat into trade isolation and protectionism.

Brussels rules out Mandelson investigation

The European Commission today attempted to draw a line under the growing clamour for full disclosure about Peter Mandelson's official contacts during his four years as the EU's Trade Commissioner.

Mandelson admits he met tycoon two years earlier

Peter Mandelson faced renewed calls to detail all his meetings with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska today after admitting their contact went back two years further than previously publicly stated.

Voters lose confidence in Osborne after row

Fewer than one in six voters believes George Osborne has the judgement necessary to handle the economy, according to a new poll underlining the fallout from claims that the shadow Chancellor was involved in discussions about a donation from a Russian billionaire. Nearly one in three people questioned said Mr Osborne should resign from the Tory front bench, according to a ComRes poll conducted for the BBC in the wake of the affair.

Leading article: Instant return

Now we see what Britain has been missing these past four long years. Peter Mandelson only rejoined the domestic political fray 20 days ago and look at what splendid drama he has already delivered for us: betrayed confidences, broken friendships and a good old-fashioned political scandal. And what a luxurious backdrop: a sun-kissed Greek island, the yacht of a Russian oligarch, the villa of a Rothschild. It sounds more like a James Bond film than a Westminster bun fight.

David Randall: Tally ho! Why has the press pack got it in for Peter Mandelson

The hunt is on, the press pack is in full cry, and the columnists won't be happy until they draw blood. But what is it about Peter Mandelson that attracts such bile?

Julian Clary: My advice to Lord Mandy? Flaunt it, sister

Lots of people are having a go at Peter Mandelson these days. He's too "silent" say some, meaningfully. His lips are too thin, declare others. He walks with clenched buttocks, accuses someone called Quentin Letts, whose own buttocks flap manfully in the breeze, no doubt. Poor Peter might be forgiven for thinking he'd entered Mr Gay UK, rather than the political arena.

Mandelson defended over billionaire claims

The European Commission's most senior trade official has defended Peter Mandelson over claims of a conflict of interest during his time in Brussels as Trade Commissioner.

Matthew Norman: Welcome home Lord Mandy

It might be Awakenings, with Gordon reviving the narcoleptics

I'm a practical moderniser, says Cameron

The needs of society must come first, Tory leader tells Woodstock Literary Festival

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/gordon-on-the-c.html">Ed Howker: Gordon on the couch</a>

According to psychologist Lucy Beresford, Gordon Brown is 'deeply insecure' and bringing Peter Mandelson back was "Freudian" bordering on "self-mutilating behaviour".

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor