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

Brown wheels out the weak and wounded

Even wheeling out the walking wounded was not enough. Gordon Brown was forced to resort to blatant bribes and an alleged deal with the nine Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) members to save his skin in the biggest Commons cliffhanger since the days of John Major's government.

Poll deepens Labour gloom as MPs return to Commons

The Conservative Party enjoys a 14-point lead over Labour, enough to give David Cameron an overall majority of 102, according to the latest poll by ComRes for The Independent.

Revealed at last: leading MPs' expenses claims

Gordon Brown once claimed £15 for light bulbs, Peter Mandelson spent nearly £3,000 on a shower and Tony Blair lavished nearly £11,000 of taxpayers' money on a new kitchen, according to the most detailed account of MPs' expenditure ever published.

Anger at lack of No. 10 invite for Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama arrived in Britain today amid growing concern that he is not being received at Downing Street.

John Curtice: Tories are finally banishing ghost of Black Wednesday

Labour's heartlands seem to have been keen to give the party a kicking

Speaker bars MPs from querying expenses appeal

The authority of Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, was challenged again yesterday after he barred MPs from discussing the High Court action to block the disclosure of their expenses.

MPs try to block expenses details

The Speaker of the Commons has lodged an appeal in the High Court to stop details of MPs' personal expenses and the addresses of their second homes being disclosed to the public.

Letters: Gay rights in Iran

Logic and courage needed to save gay Iranian from dire peril

Business leaders losing faith in Brown and Darling, survey shows

Business leaders have lost confidence in Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling to lead the British economy through difficult times, according to a new survey.

Steve Richards: Clegg could be an engaging and effective leader. But how much does that matter?

Leaders of the Lib Dems come and go. The dilemma remains the same

Clegg: 'Power and privilege keep us out of government'

Lib Dem leader attempts to reassert his authority with attack on the two-party system

Leading article: Mr Clegg and a question of authority

If there was one party leader who should have come out of the Commons debates on the European Reform Treaty smiling, it was Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats. Gordon Brown was saddled with Tony Blair's cynical promise of a referendum, which had been enshrined in the party manifesto. David Cameron leads a generally eurosceptic party that numbers some highly articulate pro-Europeans among its MPs. This week's referendum debate was going to be comfortable for neither leader.

Clegg faces Lords rebellion over his abstention policy on Lisbon Treaty

Nick Clegg is facing another damaging rebellion against his stance on the Lisbon Treaty, this time by Liberal Democrat peers who hold strong pro-European views.

Campbell denies spat with Clegg over Commons stunt

Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader, is said to be furious over claims that he privately criticised his successor, Nick Clegg, for "childish" behaviour by staging a Commons walkout.

Alan Watkins: A very curious way of tying us in to Europe

The great Liberal Democrat Commons walkout was not only trumped by the roof protesters – it fell victim to its own folly
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there