Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas

Diary: What price to dine with the Prime Minister?

Donations of £250,000 a year will buy you dinner with David Cameron, the Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas told undercover reporters in March. He had to resign as soon as his words – which Mr Cameron described as "completely unacceptable" – appeared in The Sunday Times.

Political donations rise by £1.9m

Donations to political parties rose to just under £9 million in the first quarter of 2012 - up £1.9 million on the previous three months, Electoral Commission figures show.

Cash-for-access inquiry deemed a whitewash before it's even begun

David Cameron was urged to "come clean" yesterday and order a fully independent investigation of Conservative fundraising methods after it emerged that the party's internal inquiry into the cash-for-access scandal has no specific mention of the Prime Minister or Downing Street in its remit.

Iraq War veteran Tim Collins

Diary: Council heads to the Orient in hunt for missing £20,000

If I were a Kent council tax payer, I would not know whether to laugh or cry over this one. One day in April 2008, the county council leader, Paul Carter, discovered his bank account was almost at its overdraft limit. He wondered why.

Out of touch: Osborne's granny tax

Out of touch. Out of control: The Tories in turmoil

The Conservatives' smooth PR mask slipped as scandal and silliness reigned

Howard Jacobson: When did we stop seeing modesty as a virtue?

If there’s one thing a parvenu has to do – otherwise what’s he risen from nowhere to somewhere for? – it’s boast

David Cameron reveals Tory donors dinners list

The Conservative Party today published a list of major party donors who have attended dinners with David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

Mary Ann Sieghart: The scandal of cash for access

How much do you care if our government was being corrupted by shady donors? What would you be prepared to pay once a year to stop it happening? The cost of half a pint of beer? Too much? How about a pound coin? Still too much? Surely we can settle for 50p then, the price of a first-class stamp?

Peter Cruddas has given more than £700,000 to fund the Conservatives

Tory donor scandal raises question of who bought access to No 10

David Cameron is under increasing pressure to reveal whether the Conservative Party's millionaire backers have been enjoying private dinners in Downing Street where they can lobby for changes to government policy.

Peter Cruddas has given more than £700,000 to fund the Conservatives

Funding reform back on the table in effort to limit damage

The Conservatives mounted a rapid operation yesterday to limit the damage done by the boastful indiscretions of their chief fundraiser, Peter Cruddas.

Labour demands to know who bought access to No 10

Cameron admits donors came to private Downing Street dinners as police investigate scandal

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, were once a 'dream team'

Julia Gillard challenges Kevin Rudd to fight Labor Party leadership contest

The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has thrown down the gauntlet to Kevin Rudd, challenging him to fight her for the Labor Party leadership and top political office in a ballot next Monday.

Letters: Atheism and the Church

What an uplifting article by Mary Ann Sieghart ("You don't have to believe in God to cherish the Church", 20 February). I, like her, thank ... er ... goodness for the Church of England.

Hamish McRae: Planning for the inconceivable can ease pain of the inevitable

Economic Life: The central banks' pumping in money was an emergency measure, a short-term fix to cope with an extreme situation

Lord's towers plan dropped

The MCC have dropped proposals to build luxury residential towers at the Nursery End and will redevelop Lord's on a "stand-by-stand" basis following a committee meeting yesterday. Work is not expected to begin before 2013.

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas