Voices

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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own