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Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

Aidan Burley claimed that he left the dinner immediately after a guest had proposed a toast to the Third Reich

Calls to reopen inquiry into Tory MP Aidan Burley's Nazi-themed stag party

The Conservative Party is facing calls to reopen its inquiry into a Nazi-themed stag party attended by Aidan Burley.

Matt Parker, far right, heads a 16-man team charged with preparing England for the World Cup next year

Six Nations Championship: ‘Mr Marginal Gains’ gears up England’s game

There are plenty of people out there who look at the way the All Blacks are playing – not to mention the way the Springboks have added a sprinkling of panache to their power game – and reach the conclusion that England cannot possibly win their home World Cup next year without a miracle.

Flatlining: the Government has been accused by Labour of intentionally 'running down' the NHS

NHS hospitals flatlining: Staff morale falls to new low after Coalition ‘bashing’

Health experts warn Mid-Staffs crisis has taken terrible toll on frontline workers

Let down: PC David Rathband, who was blinded by gunman Raoul Moat

Pc David Rathband: Estranged wife 'could not forgive officer left blind by gunman Raoul Moat over affair with 7/7 survivor Lisa French'

Kath Rathband tells inquest estranged husband who was shot and left blind by gunman Raoul Moat would call her 100 times a day

Whistleblower Julie Bailey, of the campaign group 'Cure the NHS' poses outside the Houses of Parliament with a copy of the report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Foundation Public Inquiry.

NHS whistleblower Julie Bailey abused on Facebook after being awarded CBE

Cure the NHS activist Julie Bailey and nurse Helene Donnelly were both mentioned in the New Year Honours List for their work as whistleblowers

The number of forensic examinations carried out on victims of rape and serious sexual assault in London has plummeted despite a dramatic rise in attacks being reported to police (the picture was posed by models)

Forensic examinations of rape victims plummet

The number of forensic examinations carried out on victims of rape and serious sexual assault in London has plummeted despite a dramatic rise in attacks being reported to police.

Nearly eight years after this rally in Trafalgar Square in London, the problem of Islamophobia carries on

Islamophobia: Surge revealed in anti-Muslim hate crimes

Many forces reported a particular rise in anti-Islam hate crimes following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby

Man arrested after body found in Stafford on Christmas morning

The body of an elderly man was found in the road in the early hours of Christmas Day

The NHS is planning to hire 3,700 extra nurses in the coming months

More than 1,000 extra trainee nursing places to be created

NHS wants to tackle the growing shortage of nurses on hospital wards

A man has been banned from every supermarket in Britain after he was caught masturbating in the aisles of a Sainsbury's supermarket

Man banned from every supermarket in Britain for masturbating in Sainsbury’s meat aisle

49-year-old had become overwhelmed by his 'excessive sexual drive', a court heard. He can now only enter a supermarket when accompanied by an adult

Guide dog mauled while helping owner deliver Christmas cards

‘Friendly’ black Labrador Gwen did not fight back because she was working and in her harness at the time

JCB to create 2,500 jobs as Osborne praises 'strong' manufacturing investment

Vehicle manufacturing giant JCB is set to create 2500 new jobs by 2018 as part of a £150 million expansion plan.

Football match-fixing: Two men remanded in custody over allegations

A total of seven have been arrested over the allegations

Councils have reduced the numbers of staff responsible for the upkeep of rights of way

Barbed wire, missing bridges and impenetrable overgrowth: Ramblers restricted by council cutbacks

More than 100,000 hazards on England’s footpaths, warns charity

Marko Arnautovic praises Charlie Adam impact for Stoke City

Forward Marko Arnautovic believes his Stoke team-mate Charlie Adam's recent exploits have sent a message to Potters boss Mark Hughes.

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Jane Merrick rides on a Micro Scooter through St James's Park, on November 18, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.
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American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
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‘The Graduate’, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, was directed by Nichols in his purple period
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US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager