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Ambassador Dimitrov was very, very cross with Ukip’s “unacceptable” and “extremely serious” “propaganda leaflets” suggesting that millions of Bulgarians were about to flood into Britain. He would have been much more cross if it had been at a lunch at which Ukip’s leader was regaling reporters with his full-on cheeky chappie routine worthy of the man he himself described as “that late, great comedian Bob Monkhouse”: stand-up with an electoral twist.

The lap of the girls

Tacky, tasteless and degrading to women? Perhaps, but lapdancing clubs are sweeping the country and their clientele is far from exclusively single and male. Corinne Sweet reports on a new kind of voyeurism for the liberated Nineties

The Intelligent Consumer: Thou shalt not wear white socks

Style police: Nor do up all the buttons on thy jacket. And don't even think about a white suit. It's not that British men dress badly, they just need a little help

How We Met: Peter Stringfellow and Larry Adler

Born in the USA, Larry Adler, 84, has enjoyed a long and distinguished international career as a harmonica player. He is also a writer and currently has a column in the 'Oldie' magazine. Larry has been married twice and has four children and lives in north London. Peter Stringfellow, 57, was born in Manchester. He came to London in 1980 and, with his style and business acumen, quickly established himself as a successful night-club owner in London's West End. He has been married twice and has two children and two grandchildren

AFTER DARK: Dancing to a new beat

It's impossible to calculate how many column inches have been written about club culture over the past few years. Journalists have written essays on every subject, from DJs to promoters, and dress codes to bouncers. But few have focused on one essential component of clubbing... dance.

Interview: John Bird: From the street to City Hall: the first mayor of London?

Until now, the only hat definitely in the ring for Mayor of London has been Jeffrey Archer's shiny topper. His campaign team is already chasing about glad-handing anyone in sight. The rest of the possible party candidates are more circumspect - won't say yes and won't say no. But putative Tory rivals include Chris Patten, Steven Norris, Alan Clarke, David Mellor. On the Labour side candidates may be Ken Livingstone, Glenda Jackson, Margaret Hodge, Tony Banks, and The Independent's own Trevor Phillips. Then there are a few non-party names - Fred Housego, Richard Branson and Peter Stringfellow.

The New Toryism as preached by Michael Portillo

Language and politics

This lad won pounds 11million. Guess who bought the drinks?

Karl Crompton won the lottery. He has been nice to his mum and dad, bought the flash toys and been on the flash holidays. But life lacks the challenge it had when he was an assistant manager at Comet. And it'd be nice to buy a round now and again.

Barbie: from career woman to bimbo in a generation

Sex and the single toy

Queer goings-on in Clubland

The stuffy establishments of St James's have a gay rival, reports Andrew Tuck

kid cachet

Question: What do Peter Snow, Clare Short, Imran Khan and Bill Cosby have in common? Answer: They have all been approached by this season's latest fashion accessory - someone claiming to be their love child.

City+: The Temp

A depressing week. Sometimes you encounter these lulls, even in the middle of the summer when there is supposed to be loads of work. By Friday, there hadn't been a peep of work all week. So when Maxine rang from an agency I had long since given up on because of the awful nature of the work they seem to specialise in, I was actually glad to hear from her.

I work for Peter Stringfellow

Pat Jay is PA to the night-club owner

Snakey's the man to keep cold winds at bay

"So what you are saying," she said, "is that you went out for a night on the town with a draught-excluder."

Party on! You're only thirtysomething

Drink, drugs, clubs - some people just don't grow out of it, says Eleanor Bailey

More dance than brass

Why are Britain's premier brass band performing 1980s dance music? Because Jeremy Deller, an artist who gave away chat-up lines in Stringfellow's nightclub, begged them to.
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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
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

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After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
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Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

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Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
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Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
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Philippa Perry interview

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Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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