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

The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Volume 1: Prelude to Power by Alastair Campbell

Blood on the tracks to the summit

Steve Richards: The real purpose of public inquiries

There is a deceptive purity about them, the formality, the questioning of witnesses, the evidence-based conclusions. But the context of these acts is always multilayered

The Sketch: Democratic elections can leave you with a pretty mixed bag

The voting is complete, the chairs of the select committees are in. Perhaps Tony Blair was right and democracy really is "a universal human value", it's reached the House of Commons. The whips used to choose the composition of the committees, and the members then used to elect their chair, as juries do. Appointment was a power of patronage jealously held by the whips. Robin Cook tried to override it and failed – and so did Jack Straw. In the last days of the old government, a small number of crowd-pleasing changes were put through to "give power back to Parliament", and this was one. The results are, as you'd expect, a mixed bag.

MPs' summer break cut to 38 days

MPs will have their summer break cut to 38 days this year when the Commons sits in September for the first time since 2004, the Government announced today.

The battle to write the inside story of New Labour

Freed from the cares of office, party heavyweights are racing to get their version of the years in power into print

David Clark: What will nice Nick say to the arms dealers?

The neocon moment has passed, making Tory-Lib Dem agreement on foreign affairs easier. But key differences remain

John Rentoul: This can't be postponed until September

Gordon Brown's statement this afternoon contained a double surprise

Preserved: Britain's 'barrier reef'

Government scheme to protect ecology of Chagos Islands delights green movement, but exiled islanders will be kept away so that US can retain use of its airbase

Econoblog: Borrowing - not as bad as it might have been

The long and short of it is that Alistair Darling will have maybe another £15bn to splash around in next weeks Budget.

Brown on Iraq: I wasn’t at fault

Prime Minister at pains to distance himself from the errors and evasions of war

Steady Brown negotiates inquiry tightrope

For a man walking a tightrope, Gordon Brown looked remarkably steady.

The Sketch: The time to eat my hat is fast approaching

We scoffed, of course, because the plan was so unlikely to succeed

Polanski adds a bit of Hitchcock to the revival of Blair's ghost

Pierce Brosnan's performance carries chilling echoes of the former PM
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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