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May defends draft Brexit deal

May defends draft Brexit deal

She was then expected to address the House of Commons, in a statement focused on progress in European Union negotiations, at around 3:00 pm (1500 GMT), parliamentary officials said.

In other obstacles for Mrs May, Spain has raised concerns about the treatment of Gibraltar in the proposed text, while France is understood to be pushing for better rights of access to United Kingdom fishing waters.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said earlier this week that his government "cannot accept" Gibraltar's future being determined by negotiations at the European Union level.

"We have to say honestly that, in the services sector, we don't have a great deal of experience with global free trade agreements", she said.

British MPs of all parties criticized the divorce agreement announced last week, which includes a financial settlement and a controversial plan to avoid a hard Irish border.

"If we did end up in a no-deal situation, we would find ourselves having to negotiate a no-deal deal quite soon thereafter", he said, speaking in Ireland's parliament.

In London, a spokesman said Thursday that May "will shortly be updating cabinet on the state of the negotiations".

But the DUP has interpreted the wording of her letter to mean that the measure will be contained in the Brexit divorce deal - despite Mrs May's insistence it will never come into effect.

"The British people want this to be settled, they want a good deal that sets us on course for a brighter future".

May is due in Brussels on Saturday to see EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, but diplomats told AFP that no more substantive negotiations would take place and that Sunday's summit would simply see leaders sign off on the fruit of 17 months of dialogue.

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The two sides commit to "an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense and wider areas of cooperation".

Spain's leader warned he would oppose the deal, which lays out the terms of Britain's departure in March and sets up a framework for future relations, if language wasn't added on Gibraltar, the disputed territory at the tip of the Iberian peninsula.

Spain doesn't have a veto on the withdrawal agreement, which does not have to be approved unanimously.

But the declaration does not deal with the vexed issues of fishing and Gibraltar, the British territory that sits on an outcrop of southern Spain.

Mr Cairns praised the prime minister's "resilience and determination to get a deal that works for every part of the country as well as bringing the country together".

The main question mark is whether Spain, seeing Brexit as an opportunity to swing the EU's weight behind its 300-year campaign to reclaim Gibraltar from Britain, can be persuaded to remain patient.

The DUP's arrangement to support the Government on key votes like finance and Brexit matters in exchange for £1 billion extra funding for Northern Ireland is under huge strain due to their dispute over the backstop.

The DUP opposes plans for keeping the border between Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland open after Brexit, saying it weakens the ties binding the U.K.by creating separate trade rules for Northern Ireland.

"There are some issues now regarding Gibraltar with Spain, but I hope that we can keep the unity among the 27", he said.

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