Rishi Sunak is facing a make-or-break month - these six issues could define his premiership
Rishi Sunak doesn't have much time to define his premiership, with the next general election on the horizon.
He also has many obstacles in his path. Although he has set out his own priorities, which include tackling the cost of living crisis, reducing NHS waiting lists and halting illegal immigration across the Channel, there are many other pressing issues that could trip him up along the way.
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With his honeymoon period well and truly over, the PM now faces a make-or-break month.
The 'Windsor Framework'
It's hard to overstate how significant the success of his new deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol is.
Having impressed with his negotiation skills, and securing concessions from EU leaders that his predecessors could only have dreamed of, all he has to do now is get it through a House of Commons vote.
But as we know that is easier said than done, and while it's looking good for the prime minister at the moment, there are dangers. If the DUP opposes it and appeals to the Conservative eurosceptics to do the same, the tide could turn very quickly, especially with Boris Johnson agitating furiously behind the scenes.
Winning this battle is vital on three fronts.
Firstly, it will reveal whether he has control over his party. Failing to get enough MPs to back him on this could inflict a fatal wound, while empowering his internal opponents, who would see victory as a sign they are really in charge.
Also on the line is his reputation with EU leaders, who have ceded significant ground in the expectation that Mr Sunak can sell the deal at home.
Better cooperation with them will prove pivotal on a host of other issues, most notably stopping the small boats crossing the channel. The PM will meet French President Emmanuel Macron on 10 March, and his reception hinges on whether the Windsor Framework goes ahead.
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Finally, there is Northern Ireland itself and the political stalemate that has left Stormont standing empty and power-sharing paralysed. The DUP's position is that while the protocol doesn't work, they won't participate. This means that their verdict will decide the future of Northern Irish politics.
Number 10 says conversations are still going on, but now the text of the agreement has been released, and the key players have had time to pore over the detail, it won't be long until that must-win vote.
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The return of partygate
The political scandal that just won't go away is back.
MPs on the Privileges Committee are investigating whether Boris Johnson misled the House of Commons when he said he had no idea that rule-breaking parties were going on under his roof, and sometimes in front of his eyes.
The latest episode of this saga should in theory be damaging for the former PM, but perversely he seems to be enjoying his time back in the spotlight, even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
Instead, it is the current PM who has the most to lose. This is firstly because it will likely reignite public anger that was stoked when the revelations first emerged, as more pictures, emails, and messages remind people that those in power were enjoying themselves while they suffered.
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More worrying for Mr Sunak than that though is that his old ally turned enemy will be centre stage for weeks, causing division within the Conservative ranks and forcing colleagues to take sides. When Mr Sunak took over at Number 10 he promised to bring unity to his fractured party. Reopening old wounds will do the opposite and - as is often said in Westminster - divided parties don't win elections.
If all that isn't bad enough, things could really come to a head when the House of Commons has to vote on the committee's recommendations. A suspension longer than 10 days would trigger a recall petition in Mr Johnson's Uxbridge and Ruislip constituency, but it would have to be approved by MPs first.
So will Conservatives vote against their former leader, and how will Mr Sunak handle that political hot potato? Given their history, he would probably love to see the back of his old boss, but he certainly won't want to be the one who pulls the trigger.
Facing the electorate
Since he took over amid the smouldering ruins of Liz Truss's blink-and-you'll-miss-it premiership, Mr Sunak has faced many challenges but has never faced the electorate.
That ends in May, when the voters will give their verdict in the local elections. In theory, they're all about bin collections and potholes, but in reality this vote takes the political temperature and is often a good indicator of where things are heading. This year's result in particular will be closely scrutinised because it could be the final electoral test before the next general election.
In Mr Sunak's favour, expectations will be low given the Conservatives are entering their 13th year in power and the government of the day expects to get a bit of kicking at this stage. But while his MPs will accept and probably defend a poor performance, they will not forgive a real trouncing.
That will include losing support in key areas - in the red wall they won't want to cede too much ground to Labour, and in the south it's the Liberal Democrats they need to keep at bay.
Signs that the tide has turned fiercely against them will likely lead to rumblings that Rishi Sunak is to blame and that he needs to go before they get booted out of office in a year or so's time. No doubt, if Boris Johnson has survived the partygate inquiry, he will be all too happy to suggest himself as a last-minute replacement.
And as far-fetched as that may seem to some, there are plenty of Tories who would jump at the chance.
Channel crossings - can they be stopped?
He's made it one of his five political priorities, and this week the PM will unveil new legislation that should stop migrants making perilous journeys in small boats across the channel in record numbers.
His challenge is to avoid the legal pitfalls his predecessors have fallen into, with previous policies getting stuck in the courts. As well as that, cooperation with France will be key, so all eyes will be on his Macron meeting later this week.
Beyond that, there will be a lot more to do to clear the enormous backlog in asylum claims and fix a broken system that has seen desperate people dumped in hotels up and down the country, often for months and at huge cost. He must succeed though if he is to keep his MPs onside, as well as many voters who consider it the number one priority.
The budget - a potential career ender?
As a former chancellor, Mr Sunak has apparently been hovering over Jeremy Hunt as he carefully crafts the spring budget that will drop in 10 days' time.
As with any fiscal event, there are many competing demands, but this one is particularly tricky. A bit of extra headroom has caused a lot of extra pressure from the Truss faction of the Tory Party to cut taxes to fuel growth. Apparently unabashed by her own botched attempt at this just six months ago, she is part of an internal rebellion against her successor's more cautious approach, and there is a decent chunk of support among colleagues.
This may have to take a backseat though as the cost of living crisis continues to bite and the chancellor considers what measures will be necessary to get people through the following months. It seems that the planned reduction in energy bill support has been scrapped as prices remain high and there will be calls to go further for those most in need.
One more area high on the spending agenda though will be defence, particularly as the UK's military capability - or lack of it - has been in the spotlight since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A boost would be well received by many Tory backbenchers, who have warned for years that cuts have weakened Britain on the world stage.
It's always a balancing act and the PM knows all too well that if it goes wrong it can be at best embarrassing, and at worst career-ending.
Are strikes here to stay?
After months of stalemate across a whole range of sectors, there does seem to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel on strikes, as ambulance workers unions have agreed to pause and talk pay with ministers.
But we're still far from a resolution, and that's just one industry, with many more workers still locked in disputes with the government. Mr Sunak's problem is that he doesn't want to foot the bill for huge pay increases across the public sector, but he needs to get the country moving again.
The NHS is a particular concern given that he's committed to bringing down waiting lists, but that work can't begin amid ongoing walkouts. And while the public are still sympathetic to the striking workers, it's costing him political capital every day that the industrial action continues.