Jim Armitage: How to prevent private sector providers from bleeding us taxpayers dry

The John Lewis Partnership is as bourgeois as summer holidays in Provence

Robert Halfon is described as one of the best campaigners in Parliament

We’re not posh: Tories rebrand party to win friends in the North

Conservatives aim to shed ‘rich’ image in bid to win over crucial voters outside the South East

Hundreds of thousands of carers will be promised new rights in the Queen’s Speech as the number of elderly and vulnerable people being looked after by family members continues to soar

The Government has no idea how cuts are impacting on disabled people - and no intention of measuring

Today Labour's Liam Byrne is demanding that the Government carry out a cumulative impact assessment to find out how welfare reforms are really affecting families

Sir Ian Kennedy

Pay and Parliament: Ipsa chief says ducking decision on MPs' wages risks another expenses scandal

Sir Ian Kennedy ridicules politicians' objections to Ipsa plans after they wanted to be relieved of setting own pay

Boris Johnson has called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants

Boris Johnson backs illegal immigrants amnesty as he hints he may run for third term as London mayor

Boris Johnson put himself at odds with the Conservative leadership today as he backed giving an amnesty to illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for 12 years.

Nadhim Zahawi said illegal immigrants should be given a one-off amnesty allowing them to remain in Britain

Grant all illegal immigrants an amnesty, says Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi

One-off gesture designed to make Tories more attractive to ethnic minorities

Spending Review: Wait for benefits could backfire, warns Tory ally

Bright Blue, a think-tank which supports David Cameron’s drive to rid the Conservatives of their 'nasty party' image, warns Government’s latest crackdown could damage party

The Chancellor has suggested that after the next election, the Tories would make further welfare cuts rather than raising taxes

Spending Review: Chancellor George Osborne hints Tories would make further welfare cuts rather than increase taxes after next election

While respected fiscal think tank criticises George Osborne's decision to continue the freeze on council tax

Only £5 per head is spent on transport in the North-east

London gets 520 times more transport cash than the North

The Government was last night accused of opening up a fresh "North-South divide", after new figures showed Londoners were being allocated more money per head on transport spending than all of the other regions combined.

Ministers get new powers to hire and fire Civil Service advisers

Civil Service mandarins are to be put on fixed-term contracts and ministers given the power to hire teams of political advisers paid for by the taxpayer, in the biggest shake-up of how Britain is governed for decades.

The Pawnbroker logo hangs outside a pawn shop in Walthamstow in London, England

Austerity to last until 2020: expect hard times for a decade, say think tanks

'We are still as far away from the target of balancing the deficit as we were in 2010'

Postgraduate studies 'only for the rich'

Postgraduate education has become like an "exclusive golf club" that is open only to the very rich, new research will warn on Wednesday.

William Hague urges EU 'red card' system for nation states to block unwelcome laws from Brussels

William Hague today called for individual nation states to be given powers to block unwelcome laws from Brussels.

UK is lagging in fight to curb the fat cats, think-tank warns

Britain is failing to tackle excessive pay and falling behind rival countries, a damning report has claimed.

EDL stirs up hatred and makes risk of attack ‘more likely’, says poll

Some interesting results were thrown up by a Survation poll published today:

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John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
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Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
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in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'