William and Kate will run London Marathon, jokes Prince Harry

He said: “I have been trying to get myself a place for years. I can’t get myself a place. What do you have to do?

“What’s fantastic is that my brother and his wife will be doing it next year, I think. He’s going to have to now, isn’t he?”

Harry made the comments during the BBC’s coverage of this year’s event, where he will present trophies to the winners.

But a Clarence House spokesman later confirmed the royal couple had no firm plans to enter the race, adding: “It was said in jest.”

Harry said: “It’s my first experience on the finish line. I’ve tried to get out on the course and have a look around, sit outside a pub and watch people go by – the laziest way of doing it.

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Forget Ukip, David Cameron and explain what the Government is up to

At Wednesday’s political Cabinet, the Coalition’s most senior ministers were told by Number 10 officials that the relationship between politicians and public is defined not only by results but by perceived motive. It is not enough for the voters to support your policies. They must trust your values, your purpose, your reason for taking action.

If, to take an obvious example, the punters can be persuaded that the top rate of tax is being cut from 50p to 45p to increase revenues (penal rates drive down the tax take) and to encourage growth, all will be well. But if they think that a Tory Chancellor is slashing top taxes just to help the party’s rich pals… well, not so much. Tomorrow, the Prime Minister will embark on a round of media appearances in an effort to make sense of the past month and to reassure the public that the Coalition remains committed to a coherent strategy of deficit reduction, radical public service reform and the transformation of the welfare system. “He’ll rise above the headlines we’ve had since the Budget,’’ according to one source, “and restore a sense of the big narrative.”

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The cool Mrs Theresa May is acting like a hothead

Every one of the great principles which for centuries have underpinned the criminal justice system in Britain came under attack: trial by jury, habeas corpus, free speech, even the separation of powers between executive and judiciary.

Tony Blair, who had trained as a barrister, took the view that ancient liberties like a fair trial and the presumption of innocence belonged were Dickensian. He licensed a series of home secretaries, from David Blunkett to John Reid, to wage war on the judges, and undermined the judiciary’s standing and independence.

It is greatly to the credit of Theresa May that when the Conservatives were in opposition she resisted this calculated populism and stood up for traditional liberties. Almost her first act in office was to put an end to ID cards, and early on she displayed a level-headed and unexcitable statesmanship of a kind that the Home Office had not experienced for many years.

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From Horrible Histories to Babar the Elephant – the ‘offensive’ children’s books withdrawn by libraries

For most parents, bedtime stories are a cherished and innocent time, featuring much-loved books full of comforting characters.

But for some, it seems, this nightly ritual is a minefield of potentially offensive and unsuitable material.

A survey of libraries has revealed how dozens of children’s books have provoked complaints from angry parents – accusing them of, among other things, racism, blasphemy, glorifying violence and poking fun at fat people.

The offending books include works by celebrated children’s authors, among them Roald Dahl, who is attacked for his use of coarse language in the books Revolting Rhymes and Even More Revolting Rhymes.

Even classics such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and The Nutcracker are not immune from criticism, in their case for being too scary and sinister.

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100,000 British women mutilated

Investigators from The Sunday Times said they secretly filmed a doctor, dentist and alternative medicine practitioner who were allegedly willing to perform circumcisions or arrange for the operation to be carried out. The doctor and dentist deny any wrongdoing.

The practice, which involves the surgical removal of external genitalia and in some cases the stitching of the vaginal opening, is illegal in Britain and carries up to a 14 year prison sentence.

It is also against the law to arrange FGM.

Known as “cutting”, the procedure is traditionally carried out for cultural reasons and is widespread across Africa.

It is thought to be needed as proof of a girl’s “purity” for when she marries, but victims are rarely given anaesthetic and frequently suffer long-term damage and pain.

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French election: Sarkozy swaggers in face of imminent defeat

Trailing badly in the opinion polls, every one of which has predicted he will get through the first round but lose in the second, Mr Sarkozy gave no quarter to his chief opponent, Francois Hollande.

Beating his fist in time to his words, he asked: “Why have Europe’s other socialist leaders lost power? Because they left the restaurant without paying the bill. Now we’re paying it for them and we don’t want them back.

“Hollande will lose!”

Sarkozy supporters at his final pre-election rally cheered. But beneath the surface of the buoyant crowd in Nice was a fear that, for all his brash rhetoric, Mr Sarkozy is facing defeat.

Barring a political earthquake, Mr Sarkozy will enter a run off against Mr Hollande after voting on Sunday which will eliminate the eight other candidates.

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