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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.”

Woman jailed after torturing 15-year-old boy by forcing him to lick up his blood and drink his own urine

A woman who tortured a teenage boy by making him drink his own urine and lick up his blood has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The Rev Reginald Dean today

110 not out! Britain's oldest man

Emily Dugan meets Reverend Reginald Dean and hears him lament the decline of cricket

Norwich manager Chris Hughton hopes to upset his old club Spurs

Stoke are role models for aspiring teams says Norwich manager Chris Hughton

Norwich manager Chris Hughton insists Stoke are the perfect role model for any aspiring top-flight team like his own.

Council leader Mohammed Pervez

A year at the sharp end: How Stoke was cut to shreds

With one in four on benefits and a community relying on its council, how would a £36m spending cut work? David Nath spent a year in a place where the Big Society is still just an idea

Branston Pickle will be sold to a Japanese firm in a deal worth £92.5 million

The £90m pickle: Branston sold to Japan firm

One of the nation's favourite sandwich fillers, Branston Pickle, is to be sold to a Japanese firm in a deal worth £92.5 million.

Queen Mary’s will be taken over by a mental health foundation trust, Oxleas, and land sold off to pay the debts

One NHS trust in five is in bad financial trouble – and Department of Health is failing to plan for bankruptcies

Only urgent, radical action will prevent failures, warns Public Accounts Committee

An illustration of HS2

£1.3bn for those living on high-speed rail route is 'attempt to buy off critics'

Opponents of high-speed link between London and Birmingham condemn new compensation deal

Swedish Lapland Reindeer: 'neither like chicken, nor as gamey as I had imagined – there were hints, but only that'

On The Menu: Swedish Lapland reindeer; Llama snacks; Time Out's Eating & Drinking Awards; Qcumber; Vinoteca

This week I've been eating... Swedish Lapland reindeer

An illustration of HS2

Government promises a top-up for HS2 compensation payouts

Compensation measures for residents affected by the London-Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail project will go “significantly beyond statutory requirements”, the Government promised today.

Victory for families as dead Iraq soldiers' relatives told they can sue Government for negligence

The families of soldiers killed fighting in Iraq can now claim for damages for negligence against the Government, senior judges said in a 'landmark' ruling today.

A view of the facilities at St George's Park

An Oxbridge of football, for coaches rather than players

Over £100m has been spent on St George's Park but, Sam Wallace finds, the academy is about developing coaches, not players

England can have no more excuses for international failure

England skipper Steven Gerrard has admitted there will be no more excuses for national failure following the move into St George's Park.

The Potter's Hand By AN Wilson

An epic novel of the Wedgwood dynasty reveals the hearts of all but one man: Josiah himself

Dressage superstar Lee Pearson one step closer to being crowned Team GB’s greatest ever Paralympian

Dressage superstar Lee Pearson is one step closer to being crowned Great Britain’s greatest ever Paralympian after finishing top of his class in the Team test at Greenwich – but only just after what he dubbed a “rider error”.

<p>1. Legoland, Berkshire </p>
<p>Adult £44.40, child £35.40, legoland.co.uk</p>
<p>Legoland boasts 150 acres of parkland and 50-plus rides and attractions. Don't miss the Lego Star Wars Miniland Experience.</p>

The 10 Best theme parks

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Independent Travel
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
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?