Nigel Farage has said he would be "very surprised" if more MPs didn't defect to Ukip before next year's General Election as Mark Reckless became the second former Tory to take his seat in the opposition benches.
Insurance companies Aviva and Friends Life are set to merge, it was confirmed today.
The parties are in the advanced stage of talks about a possible deal.
If it goes ahead, it would be the UK's leading insurance, savings and asset management business, with 16 million customers.
An outbreak of bubonic plague has killed 40 people in less than three months, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed.
It means the disease has killed more than a third of the 119 confirmed cases reported since the end of August.
And two of the cases reported have developed into pneumonic plague, where the bacteria reaches the lungs - considered one of the most deadly infectious diseases on the planet as it can kill people within 24 hours.
Health experts have also warned there is a risk of “rapid spread” in the capital city Antananarivo. So far, two cases – including one death – have been reported, and with a high population density and weak healthcare system there is concern that the number of cases should shoot up dramatically.
The plague is a bacterial disease usually passed between rodents via fleas.
There are not currently any trade or travel restrictions in place.