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

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Whatever happened to the new politics?

Behind the coalition

With 11 days to go and polls suggesting a hung parliament, what secret deals are going on?

The main parties are preparing the ground for talks about the post-election balance of power

Blango's now running for office

Columba Blango has gone head to head with a heavyweight opponent before. On 6 May, come General Election Day, the 53-year-old Southwark borough councillor will be up against Harriet Harman in the fight for the parliamentary seat of Camberwell and Peckham. Having been the constituency MP for 27 years now, Ms Harman, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, is rated as a 1-100 odds-on favourite with Ladbrokes. Still, Councillor Blango, the Liberal Democrat candidate, is a clear second favourite among the seven contenders, at 20-1 against. Back in 1980, when he took on Daley Thompson at the Moscow Olympics, he was not given an earthly chance.

Alan Watkins: Clegg's soft touch will be hard to sustain

The Lib Dem leader's success in the first debate resembles an old-style third-party win in a by-election

Liberal Democrats: Shaping up into a lean, mean, fighting machine

Nick Clegg's party is focusing its limited resources on a small number of high-profile and well-funded battles. Nigel Morris reports

MoD accused of cover-up after troop data reclassified

Figures on personnel shortages deemed secret after fears over security

Alan Watkins: My money's still on Mr Cameron

All this chatter about hung parliaments is just a sign of boredom in the political classes, who are hoping for a more exciting contest. The reality is, the Conservatives will win, and win by a comfortable margin

US envoy opposes Afghan troop increase

The US envoy in Afghanistan, a former Army general who once commanded troops in the country, has objected strongly to emerging plans to send tens of thousands of additional forces to the country, a senior US official said last night.

Mark Steel: Cut this nonsense about whose cuts are most 'savage'

Suddenly, no party thinks it can be serious unless it pledges to cut

Campbell backs Clegg over divisive tuition fee climbdown

Sir Menzies Campbell insisted last night there could be no "sacred cows" for the Liberal Democrats as he came to the defence of his successor, Nick Clegg, in the party split over university tuition fees.

Cable will be given front-row seat on election battlebus

The Liberal Democrat party hopes to exploit the popularity of its deputy leader, Vince Cable, at the general election by giving him a central role in the campaign and encouraging him to stray beyond his current economic remit.

More helicopters available says Defence Minister

The Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth today insisted that the Government was doing everything possible to increase the number of helicopters and armoured vehicles available to troops in Afghanistan.

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