Boris needs a hand with the computers on his first day in the job

The first day in a new job is always stressful. But when you are in charge of a £11bn budget covering buses, the Tube, police and fire services for one of the greatest cities in the world, you can be forgiven for having a few first-day nerves.

Inside Lines: Boris may offer Hoey key Olympics role

Boris Johnson will need more than a little help from his friends, among them the one-time Labour sports minister Kate Hoey, to navigate the inevitably stormy waters of the Olympics over the next four years. Hoey confirmed to us last night that she will be advising the Tory London mayor on Olympics and sport "on a non-partisan basis", adding: "The kind of thing I will be doing is what has been missing from the running of London." It is even possible the feisty Hoey may be Boris's nominee on the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, which would be ironic for a Government which treated her so shabbily. Johnson will also rely heavily on advice from the able shadow sports minister Hugh Robertson and Richard Ottaway, Tory MP for Croydon South, who is vice-president of the Parliamentary Olympic Group. The government will be concerned that Labour's influence on the Olympic project is dissipated with the exit of Ken Livingstone, but 2012 chief Seb Coe says: "We congratulate Boris and owe much to Ken for his vision but remain strictly neutral on Olympic issues."

Labour launches offensive to stop 'high-risk' Boris becoming Mayor

Labour is portraying Boris Johnson as "high risk" and "a joke" as it launches a last-ditch blitz aimed at preventing him becoming Mayor of London next week.

Pandora: George sings Billy's praises (like Dave)

Billy Bragg has found an unlikely fan in George Osborne. The former left-wing firebrand and the Shadow Chancellor both appeared as guests on Andrew Marr's Sunday AM show last weekend. Once the cameras stopped rolling, the pair exchanged pleasantries about Bragg's song "A New England".

Pandora: Silvio and Tessa's reunion

The return to Italian politics of the billionaire media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, provides many banana skins for our Olympics minister, Tessa Jowell. In August, she will appear in place of Gordon Brown at the opening of the Beijing Games. Jowell could find herself in awkward photos beside the Italian premier, who faces corruption charges for allegedly bribing her estranged husband, the corporate lawyer David Mills (Jowell, remember, saved her job by separating from Mills). If convicted, both men could face jail.

Charles Clarke lines up southern 'stalking horses' to challenge Brown's leadership

Former home secretary said to be collecting names of MPs in anticipation of a revolt against the PM if Labour does badly in 1 May local elections

Labour asks for Lib Dem help to beat Johnson

Labour is trying to forge an informal "Lib-Lab pact" to head off the prospect of a victory by the Tory candidate Boris Johnson over Ken Livingstone in the election for London mayor.

Philip Hensher: Banning Boris-ing is a waste of time

Large numbers of folk tales, not just Rumpelstiltskin, attest to the primitive power invested in a man's name. There is a terrific power and intimacy involved in the act of naming. Not so very long ago, it was quite a rare thing for most people to use forenames routinely. Respectable old ladies could know each other for years without venturing onto first-name terms; both my grandmothers would have died rather than call their best friends anything other than "Mrs Jones" or "Mrs Smith".

Premiership set to ban players from England

The great stand-off: Clubs refuse to play ball with All Black game

Anti-sleaze watchdogs face axe in shake-up

Anti-sleaze watchdogs who have criticised Tony Blair or caused trouble for the Government face abolition under plans being considered in Whitehall.

Cover Stories: BookExpoAmerica; Arianna Huffington and others

BookExpoAmerica, in Washington this week, is bigger by far than its London counterpart and really does feel like a fair. Just watching booksellers filling carts with proofs and waiting in line for a signed copy (sometimes with an eye solely on ebay) is a sight to behold. Both fairs are owned by Reed Exhibitions and, fresh from his victory in London over Frankfurt, its director Alistair Burtenshaw was taking larger US bookings for Earls Court next spring. Politicians were signing copies of manifestos: among them Gary Hart, one of many presidential candidates undone by an inability to keep his trousers done up. Edward Kennedy had a kids' book on the workings of Washington. And Illinois senator Barack Obama (above), tipped as a future Democratic contender, has written about race, hope and inheritance in the US.

Greg Dyke on Broadcasting

There must be a better way to run the Corporation than this

Matthew Norman's Media Diary

Here's a great idea for a board game

Cabinet at war over smoking ban

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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