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Boris Johnson shores up DUP opposition to Brexit deal

25 November 2018

"Europe and the United Kingdom have accepted our demands".

The EU withdrawal agreement: a 585-page, legally-binding document setting out the terms of the UK's exit from the EU. But Spain remains unsatisfied.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez withdrew a threat to boycott Sunday's European Council just hours before Britain's Theresa May was due in Brussels.

The British government wrote to Tusk's European Council to say that it would not interpret its withdrawal treaty, due to be endorsed on Sunday, as meaning that a future EU-UK trade treaty would automatically apply to Gibraltar - though London's envoy to the EU said it would seek the best deal for its territory.

"It is, and the reason I say that is on day one of us leaving the European Union there would be no difference, we would be exactly the same as the rest of the United Kingdom, but in year five or 10 we would be different", she said.

The first one is the withdrawal agreement, also known as the "divorce" deal.

In legal terms, Spain's disapproval would not halt the divorce settlement, but it would embarrass European Union leaders keen to show that the 27 are united, and might delay Sunday's largely symbolic summit.

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"For the withdrawal negotiations, given there are some circumstances which are specific to Gibraltar, we held talks with Spain which directly involved the Government of Gibraltar", May's spokesman said.

May was on her way to Brussels when the deal came through and hopes to leave European Union headquarters on Sunday with a firm agreement on the withdrawal terms for Britain's departure from the European Union on March 29, as well as a comprehensive negotiating text on how future relations should look like once both sides agree on a trade agreement.

He said in an interview with Spain's Onda Cero radio station that officials in Brussels were working on options to accommodate Spain's concerns, and estimated there was a 60-percent chance of success.

Sanchez wanted guarantees about how Gibraltar, a British territory off Spain's southern coast, would be treated after Brexit.

Meanwhile, Spain had threatened to pull out of the summit altogether until it was given assurances over Gibraltar, although the issue appeared to have been resolved on Saturday.

Tusk said in a letter on Saturday to the 27 other national leaders confirming that the summit will go ahead.

EU head Jean-Claude Juncker said after meeting with Sanchez that solidarity and dialogue were "the European way of finding solutions". "That is being worked on intensively, so the chancellor is preparing for the trip to Brussels".

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Prime Minister Theresa May responded: "My Hon".

DUP MPs did not support Mrs May's government in a number of Commons votes this week.

Determined not to allow any redrafting of either of the two texts and risk derailing the process, European Union states have instead proposed addressing Spain's concerns in a separate statement by the 27 leaders on Sunday that would not be part of negotiations with Britain.

May must show that she has left nothing on the table if she is to convince British members of parliament to ratify the deal in the coming weeks.

"This isn't about me", she said.

"As you have spent your entire career as a staunch Eurosceptic, I cannot adequately put into words, really I can't John, how much I think of what you have done for your country - and I am sure that many of your colleagues now feel absolutely the same".

Mrs May replied: 'I honestly believe I'm getting what is a good deal for the UK.

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"To the Spanish people I say we have taken a decisive, determined step forward and we have absolute guarantees to resolve a conflict that has lasted more than 300 years", Sanchez told a news conference in Madrid.

Boris Johnson shores up DUP opposition to Brexit deal