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

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee