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  1. Mike Ashley wins High Court battle over £15m 'deal'
  2. Claim had been made by banker over Sports Direct shares
  3. The NUFC owner had already paid him £1m for advice

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All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us for today - thank you for joining us.

You can still catch up with the latest news throughout the night on BBC Tees, BBC Newcastle, Look North, and online.

If you'd like to get in touch or share your North East pictures with us, you can do so on Twitter, Facebook, or via email.

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00, have a good evening.

Sarfraz Ahmed

Yorkshire sign Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed as a T20 Blast replacement for Australia batsman Peter Handscomb.

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Union says court ruling is 'big victory' for North East workers

A Supreme Court decision to quash fees for employment tribunals is being hailed as a major victory for the North East by the TUC.

The case was brought by the union Unison, which argued that forcing workers to pay up to £1,200 was preventing many from enforcing their employment rights.

Employment tribunals in the North East have fallen by 71% since the fees were introduced in 2013 as there were 6,770 claims were made before the introduction, compared with 1,939 in the most recent year, according to the TUC.

Unison protest

TUC northern regional secretary Beth Farhat said “This is a massive win for working people in the North East.

"Congratulations to Unison for doggedly pursuing this case. Today’s result shows the value of working people standing together in trade unions".

“Low-paid workers across the North East were priced out of justice, even when they’ve been faced with harassment or have been sacked unfairly.

“Tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff. The government must now refund all past fees as soon as possible."

Dog eats wedding cake on couple's big day

Bella the Labrador ate Jackie Walker and Scott Willis' wedding cake on the morning of their big day.

Dog eats wedding cake on morning of couple's big day

Summer drink-drive campaign catches 96 intoxicated drivers

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

During a month-long campaign across the Durham and Cleveland Police areas, 96 drivers were found to be over the legal alcohol limit, and 15 provided a positive drugs test.

Sixteen were unfit to drive, and eight failed to provide a sample.

A total of 2,475 breath tests were carried out.

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, said: "These results show that operations like this one are essential and can potentially save lives.

"I am fully supportive of this campaign and the work of our roads policing officers in making our roads a safer place."

Sunderland Pride saved by local sponsors

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

Sunderland's LGBT+ celebration has been saved after it looked like it could be cancelled due to a lack of funding.

It will be the city's seventh Pride, and it is being made possible by the contributions of a number of local bars, pubs and restaurants.

Sunderland Business Improvement District has agreed to sponsor the main stage for the fourth year.

The event is happening on 24 September from 12:00 until 18:00 at Park Lane.

Sunderland Pride
Sorted PR Ltd.

Angel of the North rated as nation's fifth favourite

Gateshead's Angel of the North has come fifth in a vote for the nation's favourite artwork.

Some 2,000 people chose their favourite from a shortlist of 20 drawn up by arts editors and writers.

Banksy's mural of a girl letting go of a heart-shaped balloon topped the list, with Constable's Hay Wain, Jack Vettriano's Singing Butler and Turner's Fighting Temeraire nudging the Antony Gormley sculpture into fifth place.

Angel of the North

£20,000 fine over death of worker at County Durham farm

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

A building company has been fined £20,000 over the death of a worker at a farm in County Durham.

Steven Ratcliffe was refurbishing a toilet block at Hall Farm in Lanchester in 2015 when he was killed by a two-tonne wall that fell on him.

Peterlee Magistrates' Court heard the wall had been left in an unsafe condition over a weekend before it collapsed.

Building company Mike Neesam and Son admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of employees and has been fined £20,000.

District Judge Christina Harrison said Mr Ratcliffe's death had a devastating impact on his widow, Marie, and the wall had been "an accident waiting to happen".

Severe accident: A1027 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A1027 County Durham both ways severe accident, at A177 Durham Road.

A1027 County Durham - A1027 Bishopton Avenue in Stockton-On-Tees closed at the A177 Durham Road junction, because of a serious accident. On the roundabout. Also affecting A177 Durham Road at A1027 Bishopton Avenue.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Blyth quintet to compete in South Africa

Five girls from Bltyth have been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth lifesaving championships in South Africa.

Rachel Carroll, Beth Little and Jessica Parker will compete in the national team, with Beth Chandler in the development team and Cadie Chandler as reserve.

During the competition, in August, they will swim as a team, towing a manikin, swimming with fins and rescue tubes against the clock.

Blyth competitors
Blyth Lifeguard and Swimming Club

Dozens of arrests in first few days of Operation Kestrel

BBC Newcastle

Police say more than 40 people have been arrested as part of Operation Kestrel in its first week.

The operation - which involves police working alongside immigration and Border Force officers, voluntary organisations and local authorities - targets foreign offenders and aims to protect vulnerable people being exploited by criminals.

Since Monday, across the Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland force areas, 46 people have been arrested for slavery and immigration offences and nine vulnerable victims have been helped.

Mike Ashley

The offer made during a "drink-fuelled" meeting was "wishful thinking" by Jeffrey Blue, judge says.

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Newcastle to press government for investment cash

Mayors and council leaders from five cities in northern England - including Newcastle - will hold a summit with business leaders next month to press ministers for more investment.

They are concerned that the government has become less committed to the idea of a Northern Powerhouse after David Cameron and George Osborne departed.

The other cities are Liverpool, Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds.

The Department for Transport (DfT) rejected the suggestion that northern England was being short-changed.

Darren Randolph

Middlesbrough signing Darren Randolph says Joe Hart's arrival at West Ham and World Cup ambition prompted his move.

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Full judgement released in Mike Ashley case

You can read the full High Court judgement on Mike Ashley's dispute with a financial expert here.

Banker who sued Mike Ashley ordered to foot £2.5m legal bills

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

The financial adviser who tried to sue Mike Ashley for £14m has been landed with a legal bill of more than £2.5m.

The High Court heard this is made up of "one million odd" of his own costs, plus the £1.5m run up by Mr Ashley, which the judge has ordered him to pay.

Financial expert Jeffrey Blue was originally paid a bonus of £1m by Ashley, for helping raise the value of Sports Direct's share price.

Lawyers indicated that Mr Blue had been "assisted" by insurers in launching the litigation.

Banker who sued for £15m in Mike Ashley case was 'wishful thinking'

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

The judge in the Mike Ashley High Court case has said no reasonable person would think the billionaire's offer to pay £15m to a financial adviser during a pub drinking session was serious.

Jeffrey Blue had claimed Ashley had offered him the sum in front of a group of people on the condition Sports Direct's share price reached £8.

Mr Justice Leggatt said: "Mr Blue expressed his agreement to that proposal and everyone laughed.

"Thirteen months later the Sports Direct share price did reach £8.

"But no reasonable person present in the Horse and Groom on January 24 2013 would have thought that the offer to pay Mr Blue £15m was serious and was intended to create a contract, and no one who was actually present in the Horse and Groom that evening - including Mr Blue - did in fact think so at the time.

"They all thought it was a joke.

"The fact that Mr Blue has since convinced himself that the offer was a serious one, and that a legally binding agreement was made, shows only that the human capacity for wishful thinking knows few bounds."

Mike Ashley told court 'I drink to get drunk'

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

The £14m High Court case between Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and a banker offered a revealing insight into how business is done in some quarters.

Stories of monster drinking sessions, kebabs and vomiting into a fireplace emerged as financial expert Jeffrey Blue tried get Ashley to cough up.

He claimed the Sports Direct founder promised him the money in a deal struck in the pub, but Ashley said the conversation was no more than a joke.

He said on the evening in question, he would have had four to five pints within an hour, after being asked how much he had drunk by a lawyer representing Mr Blue.

"It was a fun evening, drinking at pace," he said. "I like to get drunk. I am a power drinker."

Mr Ashley added: "My thing is not to drink regularly. It is binge drinking. I am trying to get drunk."

The court also heard how Ashley had once drunk so much at a similar meeting - 12 pints and chasers - that he had vomited into a fireplace, to thunderous applause from his senior management team.

If you thought management meetings were made decadent by the presence of coffee and a plate of generic custard biscuits, you might want to have a rethink.

Banter, bravado and beers - how pub chats about Sports Direct led to court

In a written statement to the court at the start of the hearing, billionaire Mike Ashley dismissed claims he owed a finance expert £14m and said their conversations were "drink banter".

Jeffrey Blue has lost his claim after he said he was promised £15m if he managed to increase Sports Direct's share price to £8, but that he only received £1m.

The sportswear tycoon wrote: "I can't believe that [Mr Blue] is now trying to take me for £14m off the back of some drink banter that he is seeking to engineer into something more."

David Cavender QC, who lead Mr Ashley's legal team, had earlier accused Mr Blue of "making up evidence" and said the claim was an "opportunistic try-on".

Mr Cavender also said Mr Ashley "fairly" said he could not recall details of conversations in the Horse & Groom, "particularly in the light of the amount of drinking".

"He does recall 'that there was a lot of banter and bravado'.

"He does not recall any discussion about whether Mr Blue would be paid a sum of money if the share price reached £8 a share."

Mike Ashley says Sports Direct share price will recover

Mike Ashley has issued a statement after winning his High Court case with investment banker Jeffrey Blue over a £15m deal allegedly made in a London pub.

Mr Blue alleged Mr Ashley had agreed to pay him £15m if he helped him double Sports Direct's share price to £8 a share - a claim Mr Ashley denied.

After the judge ruled in Mr Ashley's favour, he said: “The only reason the Sports Direct share price exceeded £8 and will hopefully do so again, is because of the sterling efforts of all the people who work at Sports Direct.”

Ashley's £15m share claim 'not serious', judge finds

No-one would think Mike Ashley's drunken agreement to pay a banker £15m was serious, a judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Leggatt analysed evidence at a High Court hearing in London after financier Jeffrey Blue claimed he had been offered the money in 2013 if he doubled Sports Direct's share price.

The judge heard that the dispute centred on a conversation in the Horse and Groom pub four years ago.

Ashley had paid him £1m for other advice since then.

Today's judgement found for Mr Ashley, who was not in court to hear the ruling, but his lawyers said it was a "comprehensive" victory.

Mike Ashley
Getty Images

Twelve pints of lager and a bag of chips, please...

Damian O'Neil

BBC Look North

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has won his High Court case after a financial adviser sued him for £14m over a deal he says was made in the pub.

The conversation was said to have taken place in a London pub called the Horse & Groom in 2013.

Jeffrey Blue says Ashley promised him the money if he could help double Sports Direct's share price. The shares did indeed hit the target, and Ashley paid him £1m for other advice.

Ashley's response was that the offer was nothing more than a joke, made during one of his regular booze-fuelled meetings with his staff.

The court heard that such events were "pub lock-ins", where where fish and chips and kebabs would be brought in after closing time.

Mike Ashley at Newcastle United
Getty Images

Mr Blue told the High Court: "On one such evening, in front of his senior management team, Mr Ashley challenged a young Polish analyst in my team, Pawel Pawlowski, to a drinking competition.

"Mr Ashley and Pawel would drink pints of lager, with vodka 'chasers' between each pint, and the first to leave the bar area for whatever reason was declared the loser.

"After approximately 12 pints and chasers Pawel apologised profusely and had to excuse himself.

"Mr Ashley then vomited into the fireplace located in the centre of the bar, to huge applause from his senior management team."

The banker who lost a £14m claim against Mike Ashley

This is Jeffrey Blue, a former strategic development director for Sports Direct who unsuccessfully sued owner Mike Ashley.

He had wanted the remaining £14m he said Ashley owed him after a drunken agreement in a pub.

Jeffrey Blue
Getty Images

Ashley told the High Court case he had met Mr Blue and three other finance specialists at a pub and "consumed a lot of alcohol".

"I can't remember the details of the conversations that we had in the pub as it was a heavy night of drinking," Mr Ashley had said.

"I do remember that we had a lot of drinks and a lot of banter.

"If I did say to Mr Blue that I would pay him £15 million if he could increase (Sports Direct's) share price to £8, it would be obvious to everyone, including Mr Blue, that I wasn't being serious."

Today a judge agreed.

Six things we learnt about Mike Ashley

During the High Court case we learnt a number of things about Mike Ashley, from his "power drinking" habits to the fact he is not really consulted about goings-on at Newcastle United.

We also found out the floatation of Sports Direct, which makde him £900m, had been "an unmitigated disaster".

Here's six more things we discovered.

Mike Ashley wins £15m High Court battle with banker

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has won a High Court case against an investment banker who claimed he owed him £15m.

Jeffrey Blue was suing over the deal, which he claimed was made in a London pub.

Mike Ashley

He claims that Ashley agreed to pay him £15m if he could help double Sports Direct’s share price within three years.

The shares did hit the target, and Blue was paid a £1m bonus, but he launched a bid for the rest of the claimed sum.

However, Ashley said the offer was nothing more than drunken banter, and today the High Court agreed with him.

Mike Ashley wins court battle over '£15m deal'

Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley has won a High Court battle with investment banker Jeffrey Blue over a £15m deal allegedly made in a London pub.

More to follow.

Scene of fatal accident at Snowman Rally

Shortly after the car rally was halted a car still on the track crashed and a spectator was fatally injured.

Read more

Council issues roadworks patience plea

The Shields Gazette

Here's today's front page and a link to our main story.

Gazette front page
Shields Gazette
Hexham florist wins powerlifting championship
Hexham florist Jo Foster is a European champion powerlifter in her age group.
Luis Reece

Derbyshire's Luis Reece hits 97 off 55 balls to help beat former side Lancashire, while Durham suffer a fifth straight defeat.

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Accident on A167 in Newcastle causing delays

Gilly Hope

BBC Travel

A167: Accident, two vehicles involved on Stamfordham Rd near Binswood Avenue junction in Newcastle, heavy traffic

Judge to rule on Mike Ashley 'drunken banter' cash claim

The Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley is waiting to see whether he has won a High Court battle with an investment banker.

It is over a £15m deal - allegedly made in a London pub and involving a heavy drinking session.

Jeffrey Blue told a judge that Mr Ashley promised to pay him the money if he used his expertise to double Sports Direct's share price.

He says he was only paid £1m and he wants £14m in damages.

However, Mr Ashley denied his claims, describing the meeting as 'drunken banter'.

Mike Ashley

Weather: Wet and windy at first, some sunshine later

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

Wet and windy weather will spread eastwards through the morning, with heavy rain and a strong gusty wind.

It will turn drier drier during the afternoon with some sunny spells developing, but feeling cool in a strong southwesterly breeze.


Check the forecast where you live here.

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be here until 18:00 bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

If you'd like to get in touch you can Tweet us @BBCNewsNE, email, or contact us via our Facebook page.