News New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police

Deal raises fears of 'creeping privatisation' of the police

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has offered to run the line for free to allow Parliament time to debate the issue

Virgin plans legal fight for West Coast train line

Richard Branson’s lawyers want a judicial review after contract awarded to FirstGroup

Sir Richard Branson offers to temporarily run the West Coast Main Line for free

Sir Richard Branson today offered to run the West Coast Main Line for free to allow Parliament time to scrutinise an "outrageous" decision to award the franchise to rival FirstGroup.

Virgin Trains won the West Coast franchise in 1997 but FirstGroup’s £5.5bn bid is more than double Virgin’s existing payment

Celebrities including Lord Sugar and Jamie Oliver back u-turn on Virgin Trains decision

Celebrities are backing a campaign to force a U-turn on the Government's decision to strip Virgin Trains of its West Coast main line franchise.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin wants all 12 slots out of Heathrow that BA was forced to give up when it took over BMI

Branson reaches for the sky as he bounces back from rail snub

Virgin boss to end British Airways' monopoly with new short-haul service

One man went to Mo: Sir Richard Branson was quick off the mark

Paul Vallely: Euston, we have a problem

There are only two ways to make more money from the railways - increase fares or cut staff

Lucy Tobin: It looks like the end of the line for Virgin Trains

Bob Crow described the franchise as a 'one-way ticket to the bank' for Sir Richard

What the Sunday papers said...

The Independent on Sunday: Government explores reforms of visa regime

Branson squares up to Walsh in European battle

Virgin Atlantic poised to appeal the EU decision to allow IAG's purchase of Bmi to pass so easily

Lloyds investors count the cost of cut-price Co-Op deal

Shareholders in the Lloyds Banking Group took a further blow yesterday when the company offloaded 632 of its branches to the Co-op – for £1.25bn less than it once hoped.

Dance to Brussels tune for Universal

Universal Music is set to submit a raft of concessions to the European Commission today as the world's biggest record label strives to win permission for its £1.2bn takeover of EMI.

Northern Rock was sold to Virgin Money, owned by Richard Branson, last year. The sale was controversial: by injecting a subsidiary into the bank, Virgin was able to realise millions of pounds. Effectively, it part paid for Northern Rock with cash it was able to take out of the bank

Sir Richard Branson eyes Virgin Records deal

Sir Richard Branson is considering buying back Virgin Records more than 40 years after founding the business that spawned his empire.

Transport Salaried Staffs Association rail union calls off strike ballot

A union has called off a ballot which could have led to strikes by railway workers during the Olympics after a Government plea for the Games not to be disrupted by industrial action.

Branson confirms he'll be aboard first Virgin space flight

With typical flair, Sir Richard Branson today announced that he and his children will be the first passengers when the Virgin Galactic space tourism programme begins.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform