Wednesday morning UK news briefing: Prime Minister 'hanging by a thread' – The Telegraph

Also from this AM's Front Page newsletter: Lab leak theory 'silenced for sake of science' & eat your way to better sleep. Sign up below
Support for the Prime Minister is draining away – and fast. 
After a day in which his own MPs turned against him over new allegations of a Downing Street party, Boris Johnson is today expected to spell out his defence of the boozy garden gathering in May 2020 – which he is said to have attended – to what is likely to be a packed House at Prime Minister’s Questions from midday. Follow live updates and reaction
As backing for Mr Johnson ebbed away, prominent Conservatives said he should resign if he broke lockdown rules. 
One ex-Cabinet minister said Mr Johnson’s career looked to be "hanging by a thread"
Meanwhile, a poll found that two-thirds of voters want the PM to resign. 
A minister sent out to answer MPs’ questions yesterday was forced to insist Mr Johnson would not quit, but in a sign of waning support, only a handful of Tory MPs turned up to listen
In a new twist, the civil servant who runs Mr Johnson’s private office is facing claims of involvement in another boozy gathering.
One of the greatest mysteries of Mr Johnson’s premiership is why he failed to sack Dominic Cummings in the immediate aftermath of his lockdown visit to Barnard Castle. 
Associate Editor Gordon Rayner investigates why the fact that it came after the "bring your own booze" garden party has got some thinking it is beyond a coincidence
And Allison Pearson is convinced that the latest revelations show we were taken for "complete and utter fools by the people who rule us".
Leading British and US scientists thought it was likely that Covid leaked accidentally from a lab – but were concerned that further debate would harm science in China, emails show. A message from Sir Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, on Feb 2 2020, said that "a likely explanation" was that Covid had evolved rapidly from a Sars-like virus inside human tissue in a low-security lab. Sent to Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Francis Collins of the US National Institutes of Health, it went on to say that such evolution may have "accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans". Science Editor Sarah Knapton has more on what the emails show. In other developments:
How did you sleep last night? Despite following all the advice around bedtime routines, a good night’s rest remains for many of us as elusive as ever. But what if instead of buying weighted blankets and sleep trackers, rethinking the supermarket shop could be the key to buying your way to a better kip? As new research shows that what we eat can have a significant effect on the quality of our sleep, Boudicca Fox-Leonard discovers which foods harm and which help your sleep – and why.
View Matt‘s latest cartoon as he finds humour in both the cost of living crisis and so-called Partygate scandal.
Rape investigation | An England rugby union player has been arrested on suspicion of raping a teenager who had allegedly been drugged. Officers held the player on Sunday following reports of an attack at a nightclub the previous day. The athlete, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was quizzed along with a 41-year-old woman. Sports News Correspondent Tom Morgan has the latest on the investigation.
The United Nations has complained to Kazakhstan after photographs emerged of soldiers in UN peacekeeping helmets during an "anti-terrorist" operation. The heavily armed soldiers appear in the images wearing UN-marked helmets while standing guard on the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city. In one, they hand out black canisters, possibly smoke grenades. As James Kilner reports, the helmets should be worn only by soldiers operating under a UN peacekeeping mandate.
Novak Djokovic has admitted to an "error of judgment" after he attended an interview and photoshoot last month even after he knew he had tested positive for Covid. The tennis star released a long statement early today as Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke considers cancelling his visa ahead of the Australian Open, amid controversy over whether or not the world No 1 was eligible for a medical exemption from the country’s vaccine rules. Read the statement in full.
One of Britain’s best-known investors has attacked Unilever for its "ludicrous" focus on sustainability. Terry Smith, manager of the £29bn Fundsmith Equity fund, ridiculed the consumer goods giant for its efforts to imbue products such as Hellmann’s mayonnaise with a higher purpose. In warnings of a "stealth tax" on the middle class, more than a million parents face being caught in a child benefit crackdown with the tax authority expected to step up its punishment of higher earners.
Ham hock, white bean and dill soup | A restorative meat and vegetable soup, perfect for chilly evenings, by Diana Henry. View the recipe. For more, try our Cookbook newsletter.
The relaxation of Britain’s travel testing regime has sparked a spike in holiday bookings, but where will holiday-hungry Britons flee this year? Our old favourites are finding favour, but will things be back to normal in time for summer? Oliver Smith looks at the 10 most in-demand countries, explains the restrictions and suggestions on where to go.
Britain’s new high rollers | Dashboards made of meteorite and clients who commit to a £250,000 car without a test drive… Rolls-Royce is now catering to a whole new world. Jeremy Taylor examines who is really behind the boom in the luxury brand.
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