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.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
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Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Danny Dyer as Mick Carter

EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.

Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
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