News

Labour backbencher Marsha Singh is to step down as an MP, triggering a by-election in his Bradford West constituency.

Why do we still love the waiting game?

The British ability to queue remains a justified stereotype. As Wimbledon fans line up across south London, David Brake asks if it's a frisson of anticipation or mere politeness that keep us in place

The Prime Ministers Who Never Were, Edited by Francis Beckett

When I was taught history we were told by our headmaster, no less, not to waste time on what he called "the what ifs of history". He reckoned that it was no good asking what would have happened if Anne Boleyn had agreed to sleep with Henry VIII out of wedlock, or if the plot to kill Hitler had succeeded, because no one knows and it is all idle speculation.

Diary: Downing Street's in a tails spin

Well, what a right old pig's ear that was! One minute we were being told by Number 10 that Dave (PM) would be sticking two fingers up to all those silly old snobs insisting he had to wear traditional tails on the day of the royal wedding – the next we hear he'll be donning his Bullingdon best after all. Just as Tory heartlands everywhere were struggling to come to terms with the prospect of their leader embarrassing the nation in such a shoddy fashion, flustered Downing Street lackeys were suddenly spinning a different yarn altogether, insisting the Prime Minister had in fact always intended to embrace his fate on 29 April. Someone, we were pointedly told, had jumped the gun by unofficially suggesting otherwise – someone who hadn't even bothered to check with his boss before opening his big fat stupid mouth!

MPs handed £3.2m expenses payout

MPs were paid £3.2 million in expenses from the final two months of 2010, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) disclosed today.

Eric Pickles: 'Tories fought 'gentle' by-election campaign

The Conservative Party fought a "gentle" campaign in the first by-election test for the coalition, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said today.

Miliband keeps the champagne on ice as PM faces wrath of Tory right

Conservative leadership accused of pulling punches to protect Clegg as Labour claims result is first step towards rebuilding

Labour win in Oldham deals blow to Coalition

Labour secured an emphatic victory in a crucial first test of its popularity under the leadership of Ed Miliband last night by winning the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

Leading article: What is and isn't at stake in Oldham East

Today's by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth is being widely presented as a crucial first test: for the Coalition, for the Liberal Democrats, and for Ed Miliband. Not surprisingly, the Liberal Democrat candidate, Elwyn Watkins, has tried to run his campaign exclusively on local issues, while his Labour opponent, Debbie Abrahams, has tried to elevate it into a referendum on the Government in general, and on Nick Clegg in particular.

Labour accuses Lib Dems of dirty tricks in Oldham

The Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election descended into acrimony last night as Labour accused the Liberal Democrats of launching personal attacks on their candidate in a last ditch attempt to win the seat.

Clegg puts in the hours on hustings for by-election

Nick Clegg made a last-minute effort to boost his party's ailing prospects in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election yesterday, making a third trip to boost morale ahead of tomorrow's ballot.

Is this the most unusual by-election ever?

With Labour's 'dirty election' win overturned, Brian Brady reports from Oldham East and Saddleworth on fading Lib Dem hopes

Cameron out on the stump – but does he really want to win?

David Cameron made political history yesterday by being the first Prime Minister to go campaigning in a by-election which, it is widely suspected, he is desperate to lose. The Prime Minister did not say that, of course. He insisted that the Conservative candidate, Kashif Ali, and his helpers are out to win Thursday's contest in Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Clegg braves chill on campaign trail – but gets the cold shoulder

Andy McSmith joins the Deputy PM as he goes out and about in Oldham East

Lib Dems roll out big guns for by-election campaign

Campaigning will get under way in earnest this week in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, the first big test of public opinion since the creation of the coalition government.

Village People: Standing out from the crowd in an outstanding year takes true idiocy

To mark the passing of 2010, I bring you the Village Idiot Parliamentary Awards of the Year for outstanding achievement in bringing politics into ridicule or disrepute during a year of many surprises.

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us