The union unit: the No 10 team tasked with keeping UK together

How what one MP termed a ‘Whitehall psychodrama’ has propelled team into the headlines

Boris Johnson’s four-person union unit, dedicated to averting Scottish independence, had become used to operating quietly behind the scenes. That is until what one MP termed a “Whitehall psychodrama” exploded and propelled the team into the headlines.

Two of its leaders have departed in a matter of weeks, raising awkward questions about how well equipped the Tories really are to stop a separatist surge from Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP at the Holyrood elections in May.

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Has Davidson known who Pilkington really is all along?There were various knowing looks between Davidson and OCG member PC Ryan Pilkington prior to the revelation that he had been traced at various places she had also been. Pilkington later threatened Davidson at her home when she informed him she would have to release him from MIT due to budget issues. While Pilkington’s intentions are now abundantly clear to Davidson, had they previously been having meeting outside of work? If so, it would suggest Davidson has known who he really is all along. 3. Is Chief Constable Osborne ‘the fourth man’?Back in series one, Philip Osborne covered up what happened in the killing of Karim Ali. As background, Ali was wrongly identified in a counter-terrorist police raid, which DS Arnott was a part of, and shot dead. Back then, Osborne was working as the team’s Chief Inspector and ordered his officers to lie about what happened in their statements. Arnott refused to co-operate and went to AC-12, leading to him being hired on the team. Despite Arnott testifying against his former colleagues, no officers were prosecuted for their actions.In the present day, Osborne has now risen to become the Chief Constable of Central Police, and we learned that he has ordered the slim-lining of anti-corruption operations following Hastings’ decision to charge Buckells. While we already know Osborne is corrupt, he hasn’t yet presented any links to organised crime. However, it is definitely suspicious he has ordered cuts to anti-corruption just as they were making huge strides in their work. Could he actually be ‘the fourth man’, who is at the very top of the force?4. 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Who tipped the OCG off about the Lakewell plot?The ambush of Lakewell’s police convoy gave us the most dramatic moment of the series so far, but it led to one of the series’ biggest questions too – just who tipped off the OCG about it?As Hastings and Arnott noted, it could be explained by a prison officer the OCG had on the payroll, or – as DC Bishop pointed out – it could also have been someone from inside AC-12. Does the department have another rat in its ranks?It’s also worth picking up on the point the team made about the ambush being a sophisticated operation, so the order must have come from the top. Could that top dog be someone like, ooh we don’t know, Chief Constable Osbourne, perhaps? 8. Why is Lee Banks back?We last saw OCG member Lee Banks in series five when Hastings visited him in prison, and now he’s back in the story having killed Lakewell in his cell upon his return to Blackthorn. Banks was another character who we guessed we might not have seen the last of, as he was central to one of the loose ends the series five finale didn’t tie up. If you cast your mind back, there were questions about whether Hastings was actually the one who had leaked information about undercover officer John Corbett’s real identity to Banks, which led to his death. Under questioning, Hastings lied about ever visiting Banks, but AC-3 boss DCS Patricia Carmichael was still convinced he’d blown Corbett’s cover. She was unable to prove it when DCC Wise insisted the case against Hastings was shut down.Could Banks’ reappearance suggest Hastings’ conduct – and his mysterious relationship with Corbett’s widow Steph – will be further explored?We also haven’t forgotten that he shares the same surname as Carl Banks, one of the prime suspects in Vella’s murder, either. 9. Who is Davidson related to?Following a further forensic investigation into PS Jatri’s home, AC-12 were able to establish that Davidson had lied about ever living there as her prints were present. Furthermore, they found another DNA sample at the property which belongs to someone already known to anti-corruption – someone who it turns out is also a blood relative of Davidson’s.While we’re going to have to wait a week to find out the identity of Davidson’s mystery relative, you’ll remember that she lied to Jatri about her family in the first episode of the series, claiming not to have any. She later returned home and became angry while looking at a picture of what appeared to be her with a family member. So whoever this relative AC-12 have discovered turns out to be, we’re guessing that they have a very complicated relationship with Davidson. Line Of Duty continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.READ MORE:Line Of Duty Fans Think They've Spotted A Clever Nod To One Of Kelly Macdonald's Past RolesLine Of Duty Viewers Think They’ve Spotted A Clue About ‘H’ In The Unlikeliest Of PlacesDid You Spot Line Of Duty's Huge Filming Fail?
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She was unable to prove it when DCC Wise insisted the case against Hastings was shut down.Hastings was seemingly in the clear when McQueen also said that Banks had only informed the OCG that there was a rat inside the unit, and not who the information came from. However, it could still be that Banks did not tell McQueen that his source was Hastings. Upon his return to the show, we saw Banks murder Jimmy Lakewell in his cell with the co-operation of DSU Ian Buckells. This was seemingly on the orders of the OCG, who believed he had leaked information to the police that would have helped in the investigation into journalist Gail Vella’s murder. How could Banks’ return be significant?Banks’ reappearance could suggest that Hastings’ conduct – and his mysterious relationship with Corbett’s widow Steph – will be further explored. We also haven’t forgotten that he shares the same surname as Carl Banks, one of the prime suspects in Vella’s murder, either. Who is James ‘Jimmy’ Lakewell?Jimmy Lakewell – played by former star of The Office, Patrick Baladi – featured in series four of Line Of Duty as founding partner of the criminal law firm Lakewell, Dean & Stevenson, and was a university friend of antagonist DCI Roz Huntley’s husband Nick. Lakewell was in league with organised crime and was part of a cover up in Operation Trapdoor, which looked into the kidnapping and murder of Baswinder Kaur, the disappearance of Leonie Collersdale and the attempted kidnapping of Hana Reznikova.He was also responsible for instructing one of the so-called ‘Balaclava Men’ to intercept DS Steve Arnott when he arrived at the Lakewell, Dean & Stevenson offices, which ended up with him being pushed down the stairs and sustaining injuries that have subsequently seen him develop an addiction to painkillers. Lakewell represented DCI Huntley in her final interrogation with AC-12, where she admitted to killing forensic investigator Tim Ifield. She then turned the tables on Lakewell and revealed that he had planted evidence to frame Michael Farmer for the crimes investigated by Operation Trapdoor. In league with ACC Derek Hilton and organised crime, he was part of a scheme where vulnerable police staff were pressured to manipulate evidence.At the end of series four, Lakewell pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, but declined witness protection and refused to testify and was sent to prison. Many viewers correctly predicted his return to the show earlier in the series when a recording from Vella’s computer revealed a man speaking to her about police corruption. We have now seen that AC-12 have obtained a full version of this recording, in which Lakewell revealed to Vella details of another case of police corruption that had a racist element. Arnott, Hastings and Bishop deduced this must have been the case Vella had subsequently tried to investigate and likely led to her death.  After hinting he was being threatened into silence by corrupt prison officers, AC-12 came up with a plan to break Lakewell out and interview him about the case, but the OCG ambushed the convoy in an attempt to kill him. While he survived, Lakewell remained silent during a later interview with AC-12 and refused witness protection, asking to return to prison. He was subsequently killed by Lee Banks, in collusion with Buckells upon his return to HMP Blackthorn. However, there was a suggestion he had actually filled Arnott in on the details about his interview with Vella during a conversation we didn’t get to see on screen, so Lakewell’s death doesn’t necessarily mean AC-12’s lead has gone cold.Line Of Duty continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One. READ MORE:Who Is DSU Ian Buckells? 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