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Khodorkovsky’s release may well have been intended to further those goals by sending a positive signal about Russia's future business climate

Leading article: Lords reform must be delayed no longer

For longer than any of us can remember – for nearly 150 years, in fact – politicians have said that something needs to be done about that museum piece called the House of Lords. Occasionally a government has tinkered with it, as when the Labour government cut the number of hereditary peers to 92. But no government has taken a clear position on what the House of Lords is for, how many members it should have, and how those members are to be chosen. Consequently we still have this hotchpotch of a chamber, of indeterminate size, some of whose members are there by right of birth, some are ex-politicians in semi-retirement, and some are valuable additions to Parliament, appointed for their experience and expertise in other fields.

Pension plan 'hits poorest'

Nearly a fifth of Britain's poorest men die before receiving their state pension and extending the working age will affect them disproportionately, an MP has warned.

Video: Cameron: NHS 'is the envy of billions'

Prime Minister David Cameron says he is passionate about the NHS but sticking with the status quo is not an option.

The Sketch: With Devine on the wrong side of justice, sympathy's hard to find

There's a little grille four inches square set into the fortified door at the side of the Old Bailey. It's a different world on the other side of the grille and if you've had a glimpse of it – speaking as someone who's had 24 hours in the slammer – you'll rather not have another.

Lying ex-MP Jim Devine jailed over expenses

An expenses cheat MP who "carried on regardless" in the face of public anger over the practice was branded a liar by a judge as he was jailed for 16 months today.

Mary Ann Sieghart: If he picks his fights well, Clegg can still deliver for his Party

Talk of what the third party had achieved in power was banned at the start of the Coalition,but is now allowed in the run-up to May's elections

Diary: All the King's men...

Colin Firth has been filming on the set of a gay porn movie. Once you've forgiven/sued me for that misleading opening sentence, let me explain: a series of photos acquired by the website QueerClick (best viewed – if at all – at home, using a computer for which you have administrator rights and can swiftly clear your browser history) appear to prove that the shabby office inhabited by Geoffrey Rush's character, Lionel, in The King's Speech, has also been the setting for a number of graphic mano-a-mano celluloid encounters. The owner of the location used in Firth's film, Edward Davenport, has already admitted to hosting sex parties there, while the walls and windows of the room in the aforementioned snaps are identical (though I don't recall that billiard table being there during The King's Speech). Remarkably, given the ripe-for-pornification male friendship at its core, there appears to be no "porn version" of The Kings Speech (à la Shaving Ryan's Privates) in circulation just yet. But might this online leakage – as it were – be yet another elaborate attempt to sabotage the film's substantial Oscar chances? The people behind The Social Network have both motive and expertise...

Village People: Clegg's remote control

Nick Clegg earned plaudits from the former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown for his masochistic decision to appear in a television debate with an audience of 20 students.

MP Devine denies expenses conversation

Two MPs did not advise a former colleague accused of fiddling his expenses to take cash from an allowance to pay his staff, a court heard today.

Steve Richards: Egypt is a reminder of the errors that drove the Iraq war

Blair was convinced that war is justified to liberate people. The uprising in Egypt demonstrates that attempts at regime change can take many forms

Ex-civil servants dispute Blair's Iraq war claim

Two former heads of the civil service today disputed Tony Blair's claim that the Cabinet knew military action against Iraq was likely a year before the war began.

Paul Vallely: Blair's glinting eye turns to Iran

A glimpse of the old messianic mission returned when the former prime minister appeared before Chilcot

Banks dig in heels over £7bn payouts

Bankers and politicians are to debate the level of bonuses being paid this year and to talk more about bank lending, mainly to small- and medium-sized businesses, later this month.

Adrian Hamilton: Cooper hasn't learnt from Labour's mistakes

With the euro teetering on the verge of collapse, a new report by the European Council accusing the Prime Minister of Kosovo of murdering Serbian captives and trading in their body parts, and total uncertainty overhanging Afghanistan's future, foreign policy is no longer a matter of vague principles. It is about what stand you take on the specifics.

Video: Bercow shouts at Tory MP in bust up

Speaker John Bercow loses his cool with a protesting Tory Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin, as he walks out of the Commons.

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On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on Scotland's oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
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Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
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musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
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A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

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
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

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

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week