Thursday morning UK news briefing: Rishi Sunak’s lukewarm reaction to PM’s apology

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What next, then? As a growing number of Tory MPs called for Mr Johnson to resign (view the full list here), there is speculation that he could face a confidence vote.

A lot now rides on the outcome of the inquiry by Sue Gray, a senior civil servant, into rule-breaking parties. Gordon Rayner explains how Mr Johnson has effectively bet his premiership on her not pulling the trigger. 

Tony Diver examines the six possible scenarios that could come next. And, from jeers to laughter, read how the world’s media has reacted to the Partygate affair.

Andrew’s fate lies with the balance of probabilities

His failure to get the lawsuit against him thrown out of court marks a significant blow for the Duke of York, who now faces a civil sex abuse trial. Effectively defenestrated from the monarchy, the Queen’s son now potentially faces the ignominy of a warts-and-all trial. The discovery process – when both he and his accuser, Virginia Giuffre, will be questioned by the other’s lawyers under oath before the world’s media – is likely to cause embarrassment not only to the royal father of two, 61, but his family. As our analysis explains, it perhaps goes some way to explaining why Prince Andrew’s team are refusing to rule out a settlement with Ms Giuffre in a bid to avoid any further humiliation.

ITV caught impersonating a police drama

How to emulate the success of Line of Duty if you are a rival broadcaster in search of a hit? The answer, it seems, is to use all the same ingredients. ITV’s latest Sunday night thriller, Trigger Point, is a police drama starring Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure as a straight-talking officer and boasts Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio as executive producer. As the broadcaster hopes to attract the same audience that flocked to the BBC show in millions, Anita Singh explains the main point of difference.

Daily dose of Matt

View Matt‘s latest cartoon as he imagines what essential supplies are for offices in Westminster.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

‘Lockdowns were a mistake’ | Lord Frost has accused the Government of “Covid theatre”, as he called on Boris Johnson to scrap mask mandates and warned that the country will look back on lockdowns as a “serious public policy mistake”. Revealing that the Government’s coronavirus policy was the main reason for his departure from the Cabinet, the former Brexit secretary urged ministers to rule out any prospect of a new shutdown. Listen to Lord Frost on this week’s Planet Normal podcast.

Around the world: Threat by tree-planting protests

Bedouin protests against a tree-planting scheme in the Negev region could cause Israel’s fragile coalition to collapse amid a row that has seen the government split down the middle. Yesterday, 11 people were arrested during a second day of protests against the scheme, which is opposed by Bedouins who say it encroaches on their land and harms their way of life, as Middle East Correspondent James Rothwell reports.

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