EU sees Rishi Sunak as a 'much better option' than Liz Truss due to pragmatic approach, report claims
A report suggests the EU's preference for Rishi Sunak is an 'open secret'
The European Union (EU) is hopeful of a Rishi Sunak success in the Tory leadership race as they would prefer to negotiate with him, it has been claimed.
A report suggests it is an "open secret" that Brussels would prefer to have ongoing contact with the Brexiteer leadership hopeful, despite Liz Truss formerly being a Remainer.
The EU has confirmed its intention to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol with whoever becomes the next Prime Minister.
The Foreign Secretary was given responsibility for negotiations over the Brexit treaty that resulted in the Irish Sea border.
Ms Truss' positive affirmations towards Brussels soon waned as negotiations became increasingly lengthy and arduous.
Mr Sunak, however, has garnered a reputation for seeking to avoid conflict with the EU, arguing in Cabinet that triggering Article 16 would potentially prompt a trade war.
According to The Telegraph, officials in Brussels are hopeful that this form of pragmatism will finally bring a resolution to the Protocol row.
Writer James Crisp says Rishi Sunak is seen as a "much better option" by the EU than Liz Truss.
He said: "There is not much expectation that Mr Sunak would change Brexit policy if he gets the top job but he is seen, especially by Dublin, as a far better option than Ms Truss.
"Ms Truss is an architect of the Protocol Bill, which Brussels warns would break international law and is arguably more aggressive than triggering Article 16, which is part of the treaty.
"She got tougher and tougher over tearing up the Brexit agreement as Mr Johnson was weakened by successive crises, which raised suspicions she was gearing up for a leadership bid."
During a hustings in Exeter, Liz Truss vowed to maintain a hard line on the UK's stance towards the EU, saying: "I think we've learned from history that there's only one thing that the EU understands, and that is strength."
The Conservative Party has delayed sending out ballot papers for the leadership election over security concerns.
The party has made changes to its process on the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, following warnings that hackers could change members’ votes.
Under the party’s original system, members would be able to vote but change their decision while the ballot remained open but now a unique code will be provided which will only allow one, unchangeable vote.
The ballots had been due to be sent out from Monday but could now arrive as late as Thursday August 11.
A Conservative spokesman said: “We have consulted with the NCSC throughout this process and have decided to enhance security around the ballot process.
“Eligible members will start receiving ballot packs this week.”