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Newspaper headlines: 'Shapps's missile threat' and 'Strictly stars summit'


Sunday Times: Russian missile threat to Grant Shapps
Sunday Telegraph: Mordaunt is 'stalking horse for Right-wing Tory rival
The Observer: Conservatives slam 'bonkers' plot to topple Rishi Sunak before election
Daily Mail: Diana crash used in vile euthanasia ad campaign: Princess's friends condemn 'cruel exploitation' as Paris tragedy photo promotes assisted dying
The Sun: New crisis for Strictly's Giovanni Pernice as 3 ex-dance partners meet to discuss their 'difficult experiences' with him
Sunday Mirror: Strictly Come Dancing's Giovanni Pernice breaks silence on Amanda Abbington's exit
Sunday People: I'll get clean for you Patsy
Legendary singer Diana Ross turns 80 years old later this month, and the Sunday People teases out a special magazine in tribute to the star ahead of her milestone birthday. The lead story carries an interview with the brother of Eastenders actress Patsy Palmer, who plays Bianca in the soap, saying he plans to get clean from an addiction.
Daily Express: Farage plots sunak's demise
As general election date rumours continue to circulate, the Daily Express says former UKIP leader Nigel Farage could have a major influence on this year's outcome even if he doesn't stand as a candidate.
Daily Star: Why oh why oh y front
Finally, there is a spot of green in the top corner of the Daily Star as it reflects on St Patrick's Day - and a boost for pubs in the UK as revellers flock to mark the occasion. The lead story claims men who wear old-fashioned Y-fronts make the best lovers...

A number of the Sunday papers discuss the Conservative Party leadership.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that there is "extraordinary infighting" within the Conservative Party. One Tory MP says "it is more likely than not" that Rishi Sunak will be "required to go before the next election", as reports suggest some on the right of the party are backing Penny Mordaunt as his successor.

But allies of the prime minister tell the paper that the Commons' leader is being used by right-wing MPs as a "stalking horse", to bolster support for a leadership contest among moderates.

The Sun on Sunday says rebels have drawn up plans for a "papal conclave", where Tory MPs will be locked in a room until a new leader is chosen.

According to the Observer, Ms Mordaunt wasn't aware of the reported plot, and believes it is an attempt by those on the right to "damage any potential challenge she may make in the future, after a Tory election defeat".

The potential scale of that projected defeat is set out in the Mail on Sunday. It says "bombshell private polling" shows the Conservatives are heading for the worst loss in the party's history - with Sir Keir Starmer possibly winning a majority of nearly 250 seats. One senior Tory says that "the mood in the party means that anything could happen in the coming weeks". But the paper says no potential successor - including Ms Mordaunt - has "sufficient name recognition to provide the necessary poll bounce".

Rishi Sunak in October 2022 after he won the autumn edition of the Conservative Party leadership
Rishi Sunak in October 2022 after he won the autumn edition of the Conservative Party leadership - some papers are reporting the party may have another contest.

Aside from the infighting, the Conservatives could face what the Sunday Express considers a "catastrophic" external threat. The paper says former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is "set for a dramatic return to frontline politics" as he is "lined up to lead Reform UK's election charge" in order to "finish off Rishi Sunak". A senior Tory tells the paper that would be "a game-changer" - predicting that the "trickle" of Conservative votes Reform is already taking "will turn into a flood". But the Mail on Sunday reports that the former UKIP leader is "in line for a very significant job" if Donald Trump is re-elected US president - possibly as an envoy to the UK.

The Observer says Labour is stepping up its preparations for government. According to the paper, senior members of the shadow cabinet have held a series of informal dinners with top civil servants and former ministers. Reported to be among them are James Purnell, Patricia Hewitt, and the government's former chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

Sticking with politics, photos of the incoming first minister of Wales, Vaughan Gething, feature on several of the front pages. "A first for Wales - and Europe" is the headline in the Sunday Times. But the Sunday Telegraph argues that he has been given a "poisoned chalice". According to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Gething faces a number of challenges, including a struggling economy, protesting farmers and record high NHS waiting lists.

Elsewhere, the Sunday Times quotes sources close to the Princess of Wales as saying she will be "clear and open" about her health, when she returns to public duties after recent abdominal surgery. They say Catherine might also discuss her recovery at public engagements, but only when the Royal Family "feels ready".

Finally, Italian Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has spoken to the Sunday Mirror about Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington's exit from the show for the first time.

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