Sunday, 16 December, 2018

EU, UK agree draft on 'ambitious' post-Brexit ties

Theresa May Spain threatens Brexit deal over Gibraltar status
Kelvin Reese | 23 November, 2018, 00:36

Last night, Mrs May returned from talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels without having finalised a deal.

It was originally billed as a chance for EU27 leaders to "rubber stamp" two documents - the withdrawal deal and a non-binding political agreement on the UK's future relationship with Brussels.

But party leader Arlene Foster said last night that Mrs May should reflect on the fact that she does not now have enough support to get her deal through a Commons vote.

"This is the right deal for the United Kingdom", she said after updating the cabinet on the text of a declaration on post-Brexit relations agreed Thursday.

But there remain challenges to overcome before then.

Two of May's top ministers quit last week over the divorce deal, including her Brexit secretary, while MPs from all parties came out against it.

They said: "Leaders do not feel like negotiating on Sunday".

"As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit", Sanchez said during a conference in Madrid yesterday.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29 2019 and diplomats are trying to put the finishing touches to a divorce deal and the accompanying outline of their future relationship so that European Union leaders can rubber-stamp them at a summit on Sunday.

Spain has said that it will vote against a deal agreed between London and Brussels for Britain's departure from the bloc, or Brexit, if it does not guarantee Madrid's veto over Gibraltar's future status.

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Sanchez told a business forum in Madrid that Spain "cannot accept that what will happen to Gibraltar in the future depends on negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU".

Late Monday, DUP MPs abstained on three budget votes in the Commons and voted against the government on a fourth, in apparent defiance of their deal to back the Conservatives on finance matters.

Sunday, November 25, will be held the European Union summit, which will discuss the British draft agreement on Brexit.

"The Commission stands ready to consider the text and take any action at any time", he said.

"I think that everybody should vote for the deal because it is in the national interest", Hancock said of the prime minister's deal.

Despite the resistance, May has continued to defend her deal in meetings with politicians, business leaders and party members.

When it was put to him that European leaders have insisted they can not budge further on the deal, the minister said: "The progress is on the future partnership". But the Protestant, pro-U.K. party opposes the Brexit deal's plans for keeping the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland open after Brexit.

He said: "So, we are going to be tied into the customs union".

Sunday's summit is meant to conclude almost two years of complex and often acrimonious negotiations on how Britain and the European Union will function after their March 29 divorce.

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