Latest Brexit: EU launches new legal action against UK over Northern Ireland Protocol

Keir Starmer ‘really hates’ Beergate police investigation

The UK government has said it is “disappointed” that the European Commission has launched new legal action against the UK.

They said a ‘legal dispute is in no one’s interest’ and ‘will not solve the problems facing people and businesses in Northern Ireland’.

Earlier this afternoon, the European Union launched legal action against the UK for failing to comply with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland protocol in a further deterioration of relations.

The European Commission launched four new infringement procedures on Friday. They said he was forced to act because the UK had not been involved in a “meaningful discussion” on the Northern Ireland protocol since February.

The committee accused the UK of failing to comply with customs requirements and failing to impose EU VAT rules for e-commerce.

The move will increase pressure on Liz Truss, who as foreign secretary oversaw negotiations with Brussels.

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Thanks for following our political coverage today, we’re closing the blog now, but here are Friday’s key stories:

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Do you think Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will become the next prime minister?

The race is on for the keys to 10 Downing Street after contenders for the Tory leadership were narrowed down to the bottom two – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

On Wednesday, Penny Mordaunt was eliminated after a hotly contested fifth round of voting which saw her miss out on second place to Ms Truss by just eight votes.

Former Chancellor Mr Sunak garnered 137 votes, Ms Truss 113 and Ms Mordaunt 105.

We want to know who you think will become the Conservative leader and then the next Prime Minister of the UK – in our reader poll. Learn more below on how to vote:

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Liz Truss arrives for a husting event in Westminster

Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss was greeted by badger cull protesters as she arrived for an election campaign with Tory advisers.

The Foreign Secretary smiled as she entered the offices of the Local Government Association in Westminster, but any questions from reporters were drowned out by the loud protest.

A dozen demonstrators, including one wearing a badger costume, chanted, “Save our badgers, stop the culling,” as Ms Truss passed.

Ms Truss’s rival, Mr Sunak, was still grilled by local government politicians during a private session indoors, with Ms Truss next door.

(PENNSYLVANIA)

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Journalists share bespoke Ready for Rishi products as the Tory leader hopeful begins his election campaign in Westminster today

A box provided to reporters includes a can of Coco cola, a chocolate bar and a personalized bottle of Factor 50 sunscreen.

A message in the box reads: “Looking forward to seeing you on the road. Just a little something to make sure you have protection in this hot weather.

“After all, we wouldn’t want anyone to turn red.”

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Badger cull protesters salute Truss

Ms Truss was greeted by badger cull protesters as she arrived for an election campaign with Tory advisers.

The leadership candidate smiled as she entered the offices of the Local Government Association in Westminster, but questions from reporters were drowned out by the noisy protest.

A dozen demonstrators, including one wearing a badger costume, chanted, “Save our badgers, stop the culling,” as Ms Truss passed.

As environment secretary, she would have changed the badger licensing criteria so that the badger cull could be rolled out.

Ms Truss’ rival Rishi Sunak was still grilled by local government politicians during a private session indoors.

(Getty Images)

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Truss brands Thatcher calls ‘sexist and frustrating’

Ms Truss denied modeling herself on former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, suggesting comparisons to the former Tory leader were sexist. It was “frustrating that female politicians were always compared to Margaret Thatcher”, she said. Thomas Kingsley reports:

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Mordaunt responds to ‘laziness’ teasing

Penny Mordaunt took aim at her ministerial boss, joking that she was ‘astonished’ to be back at the Commons dispatch box given her ‘reported work ethic’ – while standing next to her.

But her supporters showered her with praise as she returned to trial duty after being knocked out of the leadership race.

Penny Mordaunt mocks criticism of her work ethic as she returns to the Commons

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Sunak wins adviser but others undecided

A Conservative adviser said Rishi Sunak won him over in private leadership campaigns with the Association of Conservative Advisers.

Councilor Ben Mabbett, of Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire, said Mr Sunak had a more realistic plan for the country than MsTruss.

He told the PA news agency: ‘I was really a floating voter before that time because there were so many good candidates in the leadership election, so I was really open-minded.

“I’m ready for Rishi now. He had great answers to questions, he has a sensible plan and in fact I think he has a more realistic plan for the country and something that I think will go down better with the electorate.”

Mr Sunak was more persuasive on topics such as social care, housing and the environment, Mr Mabbett said.

But Councilor Rhys Smithson of Colchester said he was still undecided after the closed session, but was leaning slightly towards Ms Truss.

He said: “They are both very, very different, different approaches, different ideas.

“If I had to put money on anything, I’d say Sunak is probably more grown up, but I’d say Truss is more passionate.

“Truss will appeal more to the members, I think Sunak will appeal more to the electorate.”

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Watch: Boris Johnson’s best PMQ insults after latest Keir Starmer clash

Boris Johnson’s best PMQ insults after latest clash with Keir Starmer

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UK to send more artillery guns and hundreds of drones to Ukraine

The UK will send thousands of shells and weapons to Ukraine in the coming weeks as it steps up support against the Russian invasion.

Britain will supply Ukraine with 50,000 artillery shells, hundreds of drones and anti-tank weapons, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced in an update to Parliament today.

More than 20 M109 155mm self-propelled guns and 36 L119 105mm artillery guns will soon arrive from the UK.

Counter-battery radar systems and more than 50,000 rounds for existing Soviet-era Ukrainian artillery will also follow, he added.

Read the full story below from our reporter, Maryam Zakir-Hussain: