Duchess of Cambridge row: Hilary Mantel criticised for calling Kate "plastic princess" says it was taken out of context

'I have no regrets': Prize-winning author criticised for branding the Duchess of Cambridge a 'plastic princess' insists her words were taken out of context Hilary Mantel likened Duchess to a 'shop-window mannequin' in speechDavid Cameron among those to rush to Kate Middleton's defenceAcclaimed author has insisted she has 'nothing to apologise for'Mantel said context of speech was twisted to set her up as a hate figure By Kerry Mcdermott PUBLISHED: 01:57 GMT, 8 March 2013 | UPDATED: 08:56 GMT, 8 March 2013 The award-winning novelist who likened the Duchess of Cambridge to a 'shop-window mannequin' whose sole purpose is to breed has defended her comments, insisting she has 'absolutely nothing to apologise for'. Double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel made headlines last month when she appeared to criticise Kate as having no personality, describing her as 'gloss-varnished' with a perfect plastic smile during a lecture at the British Museum. But in an interview on BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves programme last night, she said that her words had been taken out of context, and that she had 'absolutely no regrets' about her controversial speech

Mother-of-three commended by judge and handed bravery award for shouting f*** off at armed raider

Mother-of-three commended by judge and handed bravery award for shouting f*** off at armed raider By Anna Edwards PUBLISHED: 12:45 GMT, 4 January 2013 | UPDATED: 14:57 GMT, 4 January 2013 When faced with a terrifying situation, many of us lose the power of speech. But not for one woman – who was handed a bravery award today for shouting 'f*** off' to an armed robber. Michelle Andrews, 45, was commended by a judge for her four-letter tirade when she was confronted by the dangerous knifeman.

Cameron must defend the traditional family

Cameron must defend the traditional family | UPDATED: 22:46 GMT, 28 December 2012 Promises: David Cameron devoted much of his party conference speech this year to his own family story and his belief that 'family comes first' Today the Mail reveals how, by the time they are 14, only two-thirds of British children will be living with both their parents in a stable family environment. Disturbingly, the figure is one of the lowest in the western world – with only youngsters in Latvia, Estonia and Belgium less likely to grow up under the same roof as their mother and father, according to the OECD think-tank. Tellingly, in countries such as Germany and France, which offer tax breaks to encourage couples to remain together, levels of family break-up are significantly lower than in the UK, where no such financial support exists

China forces every internet browser to register their real name in new free speech crackdown

China forces EVERY internet user to register their real name in new free speech crackdownNew rules follow use of popular microblogs to expose official corruptionRegulations could restrict access to Western sites | UPDATED: 16:11 GMT, 28 December 2012 The Chinese government launched a new assault on free speech online today by requiring all internet users to register their real names. The new rule comes in the wake of the runaway success of Weibo, a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter which has exposed corruption and other abuses of official power. The country's rubber-stamp legislature approved the controversial measures at the closing meeting of a five-day session

Gadgets blamed for 70 per cent leap in child speech problems in just six years

Gadgets blamed for 70 per cent leap in child speech problems in just six yearsRise blamed on screen-based gadgets and games as 'electronic babysitters'Department of Education study finds 135,700 children had difficulties in 2011Children's charity says 1.2million youngsters have communication problem | UPDATED: 01:04 GMT, 28 December 2012 Challenges: Findings from a Government-funded study show that the number of schoolchildren needing help for speech and language difficulties rose 71 per cent between 2005 and 2011. The rise has been blamed on the growing use of gadgets The number of children with speech difficulties has leapt 70 per cent in six years, according to a new study. As many as 1.2million youngsters are now estimated to struggle with speech

Please don"t kick out Piers, we don"t want him back! British critics launch counter-petition to make sure he stays in U.S.

Please don't kick out Piers, we don't want him back! British critics launch counter-petition to make sure he stays in U.S.A petition to have the journalist deported after he criticised pro gun campaigners has attracted 71,000 signaturesNow a second petition saying he must stay because the British do not want him also has around 1,100 votes of support | UPDATED: 01:38 GMT, 27 December 2012 First Piers Morgan became the subject of a petition calling for him to be deported from the US for upsetting the gun lobby there. Now a counter-petition has been started, asking for America to keep him – not because he’s popular there but (allegedly) because no one here wants him back. The broadcaster is at the centre of a row after criticising pro-gun campaigners on his nightly US chat show in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, in which 20 children and six adults were shot dead

Grammar test for every 11-year-old: Michael Gove unveils back-to-basics exam to drive up standards

Grammar test for every 11-year-old: Gove unveils back-to-basics exam to drive up standardsPupils will be tested on grammar and punctuation skills in new exams Government says 'too little attention' has been paid to core skillsOne in four pupils started secondary school this year without basic skills | UPDATED: 23:28 GMT, 16 December 2012 Back-to-basics: Plans unveiled by Michael Gove will see 11-year-olds tested on their grammar and punctuation in a drive to raise English standards A back-to-basics test of grammar and punctuation for all 11-year-olds has been unveiled by Michael Gove in a drive to raise standards in primary schools.

A victory for free speech: Lords vote to axe law banning insults that had led to countless arrests of ordinary people

A victory for free speech: Lords vote to axe law banning insults that had led to countless arrests of ordinary peopleSection 5 of the Public Order Act criminalised ‘insulting’ words and behaviour But it had not defined what the term meant, leading to an abuse of the lawA move by Lord Dear, a former West Midlands chief constable, was backed by 150 votes to 54 | UPDATED: 07:49 GMT, 14 December 2012 Free speech campaigners have hailed a vote by the House of Lords to scrap a draconian law that made it a crime simply to insult someone. The controversial legislation led to countless arrests of ordinary people for making jokes and expressing opinions about religion and sexuality. An amendment to strike out the term 'insult' by Lord Dear, a crossbencher and former West Midlands chief constable, was backed by 150 votes to 54 Section 5 of the Public Order Act criminalised ‘insulting’ words and behaviour – without defining what the term meant.

MP Nadine, a mystery over her marriage and investors with VERY awkward questions for her "husband"

MP Nadine, a mystery over her marriage and investors with VERY awkward questions for her 'husband' | UPDATED: 00:00 GMT, 8 December 2012 Home sweet home: MP Nadine Dorries with the man she called her husband Paul at Woolstaplers Hall, Chiping Campden Back in 2010, when Nadine Dorries was a little-known Conservative politician, she made an impassioned speech in Parliament. It was about malpractice and corruption in the City. This is the crux of what she told the House of Commons that day: ‘Many people work hard all their lives and save hard.

Scrap law on "insulting words and behaviour" that censors free speech, MPs urge

Scrap law on 'insulting words and behaviour' that censors free speech, MPs urgeLaw has 'disproportionate impact on freedom of expression’, say MPs and peers | UPDATED: 23:25 GMT, 26 November 2012 Controversial legislation that criminalises ‘insulting’ words and behaviour should be scrapped, MPs and peers urged yesterday. The law – which has been used to arrest a Christian preacher, a critic of Scientology and a student who made a joke – has a ‘disproportionate impact on freedom of expression’, the Joint Committee on Human Rights said. In a report, it recommended that ministers accept an amendment which would remove the ‘insulting’ offence from the Public Order Act.