News Syrian refugees look out from an evacuated house in Istanbul. Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under new government plans

Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under plans to be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

Yvette Cooper tops the list of Labour MPs in vote for Shadow Cabinet

Yvette Cooper topped the poll last night as Labour MPs elected the "new generation" of senior frontbenchers who will serve under the party's new leader, Ed Miliband.

Susie Mesure: A foolproof list for dads: 1. Cuddles, 2. Real food, 3. Zoo

Every mother's done it: nagged her other half about something to do with their child. And it's usually about the blindingly obvious, let's face it. What dad isn't capable of remembering to wipe a dripping nose/take a coat out when it's cold/bring some nappies/or pack some snacks for a trip out? (Delete as appropriate: I just checked and I'm apparently guilty of all of them.)

Benefits 'to be replaced by universal credit'

Millions of welfare claimants are set to have their benefits scrapped and replaced with a single "universal credit", it was reported today.

Andrew Grice: How first his bottle and then his brother cost David Miliband his dream

A career frustrated by crucial mistakes

Mr and Mrs Balls both in the running for shadow Chancellor job

As Labour MPs deliberate over which of their colleagues they want to see in Ed Miliband's shadow team, one name has cropped up more than most – Yvette Cooper's.

49 MPs join race for frontbench role

The battle for jobs in Ed Miliband's top team was joined in earnest tonight with 49 Labour MPs putting themselves forward.

Women could make up half of new Shadow Cabinet

Women are set to make up almost half of Ed Miliband's top team after he privately urged MPs to elect large numbers of female candidates to his Shadow Cabinet.

The leader's in tray: Shadow cabinet poll is the first worry

Ed Miliband faces an early test of how best to deploy his team - once his backbenchers have decided who's in it

Ed Balls: Running his race to the beat of the people's drum

The 'other Ed' hoping to be elected Labour's leader is convinced he is the only candidate who can truly connect with the electorate. Matt Chorley meets Ed Balls.

Sarah Sands: Retirement at 80, a novel at 90... We can take our time

The generations of Windsors who emerged stiffly in wintry clothes at the end of their austerity cruise in the Western Isles last week were regarded as quaint, but the Royal Family is evidently a model for the future. There is a doughty matriarch of 84, working full time and supporting many dependants; a son kept out of a job because there is no longer a retirement age to create a vacancy; anxiety about members of the extended family who are on benefits, since taxpayers' tolerance of subsidy is perilously low; a young prince who keeps trying to push back his wedding day because the ratio of 27 years being single to 72 years or so of married life is hard to swallow.

Vote for me! (I'm having a cheap holiday)

Labour's leadership candidates are vying for left-wing support – even on vacation

Comment: "Budgets should have a published gender-impact assessment"

As has been pointed out elsewhere, women will be paying for the brunt of the changes announced in the recent emergency Budget. The House of Commons library's gender analysis, commissioned by Labour MP Yvette Cooper, showed that by 2014-15, of the £8bn net savings made as a result of changes in taxes, benefits and in the indexation of pensions, women will be contributing 72 per cent and men just 28 per cent. In other words, women, who have substantially lower incomes than men, will be providing more of the money that will be collected to rescue the public finances from the recession's effects. This can only make gender inequalities in income worse.

Mary Dejevsky: Let's not fight this gender war

Women move into the public sector not just because this is where 'women's' jobs are concentrated, but because they see it as more reliable, responsible and humane

Reform of benefit system could see introduction of London weighting

Benefit levels could be varied around the country to reflect the cost of living in different regions under plans for a radical revamp of the welfare state.

Tory benefit reforms 'will make work pay'

The Government unveiled radical proposals to reform the UK's "antiquated" benefits system today, pledging the biggest overhaul in decades in a drive to simplify the structure and make work pay.

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game