Five things you need to know today: May and Hunt prepare retaliation against Iran

Plus, Tories brace for Johnson as contest concludes, Hong Kong mob violence leaves 45 hospitalised, and Ukrainian comedian and rock star enter coalition talks.

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Iran tanker seizure: UK set to announce new sanctions

Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee Cobra at 10:30am this morning after a British-flagged tanker was seized by Iran in the Gulf. As the stand-off intensifies, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt will address the House of Commons at 3:30pm where he is expected to announce sanctions directed against members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and that the UK is prepared to join an international maritime protection force. Iran has warned that it is unprepared to release the Swedish-owned Stena Impero until the UK releases an Iranian-flagged ship seized off the coast of Gibraltar a fortnight ago. 

Tories prepare for Johnson as contest concludes

Voting in the Conservative leadership election will close at 5pm today, with Boris Johnson on course to comfortably defeat Jeremy Hunt. The winner of the contest will be announced tomorrow and is then due to succeed Theresa May as prime minister on Wednesday after May’s valedictory PMQs. Her successor is expected to deliver a short speech outside Downing Street before beginning cabinet appointments. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, and David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, have announced that they will resign over the threat of a no-deal Brexit in advance of Johnson’s anticipated appointment.

Hong Kong mob violence leaves 45 hospitalised 

Hong Kong has been stunned by a night of violence which saw dozens of masked men dressed in white storm a train station and attack commuters. Footage showed the men chasing passengers and beating them rods, leaving 45 people hospitalised, including one who is critically injured. The mob attack followed a pro-democracy march by hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday that descended into violence with riot police firing teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

Liberal Democrats to name new leader

The Liberal Democrats will announce their new leader this afternoon following the contest to succeed Vince Cable. Ed Davey, the former energy and climate change secretary, or Jo Swinson, the party’s deputy leader, will be named as Cable’s successor. Swinson, the MP for East Dunbartonshire, is the bookmakers’ favourite but postal vote returns are said to show a closer contest than anticipated. After years of depressed poll ratings, the Lib Dems have recently gained support as they champion opposition to Brexit. 

Ukraine election: comedian and rock star to enter coalition talks

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s party is on course to win a snap general election, strengthening the former comedian’s political power. Early results - with 29 per cent of the vote counted - put the Servant of the People party on 42.1 per cent with the pro-Russian Opposition Platform - For Life party in second place with 12.7 per cent. Zelenksy has signalled that he will enter coalition negotiations with the newly-created Voice party, which has won 6.4 per cent and is led by Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, the lead singer of rock band Okean Elzy.