N Ireland leader steps aside
Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson temporarily stood down yesterday ahead of a politically-destabilising inquiry over money his wife raised for a 19-year-old man she was having an affair with. Robinson, who earlier received the backing of his Democratic Unionist Party to stay on as its leader, asked party colleague Arlene Foster to stand in as head of the province’s power-sharing executive for a “short time.” Robinson's wife Iris said last week she tried to kill herself last year after the extramarital affair. The subsequent financial disclosures have threatened the province's already shaky power-sharing system.

Tories in parenting push
A Tory government would end the “poverty of parenting” by using the tax system to encourage couples to stay together, David Cameron confirmed yesterday. In a speech to the think tank Demos, Cameron said he would adopt interventionist measures to put the family at the heart of a “responsible society”. “We will recognise marriage, whether between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man, in the tax system,” he said.

Brown: we can and must win
Gordon Brown last night told the Parliamentary Labour Party that an economic recovery would help him lead them to an historic fourth term victory. “We can and must win the election,” he told MPs rattled by a recent coup attempt led by Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt.