News Office politics: Mr Ortikov’s troubles began as a British embassy employee

Guard who refused to be a spy says UK turned its back on him

Armed forces: Ulster-sized force needed for Kosovo

BRITAIN MAY have to deploy armed forces in Kosovo numbering "very close" to the 15,000 now in Northern Ireland, the former Tory defence secretary Tom King said yesterday. The Defence Secretary George Robertson side-stepped that question and said the operation would "continue as long as it takes".

The Sketch: Sniping continues in foothills of Westminster enclave

THE WAR is over but skirmishing continues in outlying areas. At the beginning of his statement on the G8 summit, the Prime Minister seemed to suggest that the moment for modesty had passed - either because he can now stand confidently on conquered ground or because things have been getting a little gloomy recently and he thinks it might be timely to bring his light out from under its bushel.

Campbell accuses leadership candidates of blind ambition

MOST CANDIDATES in the Liberal Democrat leadership contest have been blinded by personal ambition and are out of touch with reality, Menzies Campbell suggested yesterday.

KENNEDY AHEAD OF HUGHES AND RENDELL IN LIB-DEM LEADERSHIP RACE

THE Liberal Democrats' most senior parliamentary figures are planning to throw their weight behind Charles Kennedy, the 39-year-old Skye MP, putting his leadership bid on a cast-iron footing, writes Marie Woolf.

Tyler to run for Lib Dem leader

THE BATTLE for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats descended further into farce yesterday after it emerged that the MP responsible for policing the contest was himself preparing to run.

Kennedy: I'll put social justice first

CHARLES KENNEDY, the front-runner to succeed Paddy Ashdown as leader of the Liberal Democrats, is planning to trump Labour's caring credentials by making concern for the underprivileged, disabled and vulnerable a key aim of his leadership.

The week in Westminster: A man of few views and fewer opinions

JUST WHAT the attraction is of Sir Alastair Goodlad - the Tory MP who has secured a plum retirement job as High Commissioner of Australia - escapes most colleagues. His monosyllabic utterances led him to be one of the worst Commons performers at the despatch box and Baroness Thatcher dumped him as a minister in 1987.

Prime Minister draws up battle plans for the looming euro war

THE PROJECT is dead! Long live the Project! Within hours of the inconclusive election results in Scotland premature obituarists declared Tony Blair's worst fears had been realised: proportional representation does not work, coalitions are a nightmare, New Labour should be allowed to get on with it and rule alone at Westminster.

Parliament: Embassy bomb `act of gross incompetence'

WAR IN THE BALKANS

Voting For a New Britain: Blair under pressure to reveal Lib- Lab `vote pact' for Scotland

TONY BLAIR was under pressure last night to disclose details of a secret deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats which could lead to a coalition in the new Scottish Parliament.

Lib Dem Leadership: Foster denies quitting contest

DON FOSTER, the Liberal Democrats' education spokesman, has dismissed speculation he is poised to pull out of the party's undeclared leadership race.

Comment: If you really want to understand this war, listen to Parliament

The Government has been unnecessarily petty in refusing a vote on the Balkans conflict so far

Harvey pulls out of Lib Dem race

THE BATTLE for leadership of the Liberal Democrats took a twist yesterday when Nick Harvey, the party's campaigns chief, indicated he was pulling out of the race, saying he wanted to narrow the number of potential candidates.The man said to be the favoured choice of Paddy Ashdown is likely to back Menzies Campbell as the best candidate.

Parliament: The Sketch: Marshall Tito's houseguest tells of crockery shortage

IT IS A broadly dependable rule of thumb that the more questions there are answered in a session of Oral Questions, the more boring that session has been.

Mandelson's Part In The Coalition That Never Was

AT THE turn of the year 1995-6 Mandelson had been among those who attended a secret meeting at Lord Irvine's handsome house in north London. The Liberal Democrats were Ashdown, Lord Holme, Bob Maclennan, Archie Kirkwood and Menzies Campbell. On the Labour side, besides Donald Dewar, Mandelson and Irvine himself, were Tony Blair and Robin Cook. This was an interesting selection: the gathering was heavy with Scots; even more important, all the Labour participants were by now either open to, or outright enthusiasts for, electoral reform.
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