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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen