Pressure is mounting on the Conservative Party leadership to decide whether to take action against Boris Johnson for his controversial comments about Muslim women wearing the burka.

Two days after party chairman Brandon Lewis ordered the former foreign secretary to apologise, Mr Johnson was maintaining his silence on a holiday break as supporters and critics exchanged furious brickbats.

The founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Lord Sheikh, has written to Mr Lewis demanding “serious action”, while the call for an apology has been backed by Cabinet ministers including Jeremy Wright and Penny Mordaunt as well as Prime Minister Theresa May herself.

Disciplinary action could lead to Mr Johnson being suspended or even expelled if he was found to be in breach of the Tory code of conduct, but would risk igniting civil war in a party many of whose members see him as the best option to succeed Mrs May as leader.

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A pregnant woman, her one-year-old daughter and a Hamas fighter have been killed in Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Health Ministry said that the militant and the civilians were killed in separate incidents.

The deaths came amid an intense flare-up of violence between Israel and Gaza’s rulers from the Islamic militant Hamas.

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A nine-year-old girl has died in a rock fall at a beach in North Yorkshire.

Emergency services were called to Seaton Garth in Staithes after reports a girl had received serious head injuries in a rock fall.

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