Brexit summit will go ahead – but ‘no one is happy’

Brexit summit will go ahead - but 'no one is happy'


Brexit summit will go ahead - but 'no one is happy'


Key points:

  • Sunday’s Brexit summit will go ahead after Spain got enough reassurances over Gibraltar
  • Madrid had threatened to derail the summit
  • May to meet top Brussels officials and EU27 set to back her withdrawal agreement and political declaration
  • DUP leader Arlene Foster says Brexit backstop plans not in national interest
  • Her deputy Nigel Dodds tells Sky News the Government should be trying to negotiate a better deal.
New interpretation from UK of Article 184 of #Brexit Withdrawal Agreement sounds like a concession over #Gibraltar despite UK spin to contrary. No wonder @sanchezcastejon is speaking as though Spain just achieved a key win after 300 years of dispute over the Rock
Deborah Haynes on Twitter
“Europe and the United Kingdom have accepted our demands. Spain gets a triple armoury with which it can definitively deal with the United Kingdom the future of Gibraltar in the coming years.” Says the Spanish PM announcing he will vote Yes to the Withdrawal Agreement tomorrow
“The union is the best political, social, economic and cultural foundation to lay for the next generation” – @DUPleader Arlene Foster lays out her reasons why she believes the union is so important #DUP18 

She said: “On the one hand, we’re told the backstop would be the best of both worlds and on the other hand we’re told we’re not going to need the backstop. Therein lies one of the many contradictions at the heart of his draft withdrawal agreement.

“In such circumstances, Northern Ireland alone would be aligned to numerous EU single market regulations while Great Britain would not. Such a scenario in the medium term would inevitably lead to barriers to trade within the UK internal market. That is not in the national interest.”

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Arlene Foster: “Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement fails the PM’s own key commitments. The PM has not been able to guarantee an outcome that eliminates the risk of the introduction of the backstop arrangements.”
So people of #Gibraltar – what do you make of the ‘clarifications’ regarding your home in the #Brexit withdrawal agreement?
Arlene Foster: “Our country and our people deserve a stable government that will focus on taking decisions to make a real and meaningful difference to the lives of our people up and down the country.”
Arlene Foster on the mistakes of the Renewable Heating Incentive (RHI). “Today as leader of the party I apologise.”
Stephen Murphy on Twitter
Boris Johnson wants a secretary of state for “no deal” Brexit.

The former foreign secretary has called for the appointment of a minister to take charge of preparations for a “no deal” exit from the EU.

He said: “It is very important that we show we are negotiating with confidence and conviction and have a new secretary of state with powers across Whitehall to make things happen and get this country ready if we have to go out on WTO terms.”

European Union summit chairman Donald Tusk has recommended the bloc approve on Sunday the Brexit deal negotiated with the UK.

“No one has reasons to be happy. But at least at this critical time, the EU27 has passed the test of unity and solidarity.”


This is the letter from the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Tim Barrow to the Secretary-General of the European Council with attached annex – a clarified interpretation of Article 184 of the #Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to bring Spain on board.

Mark Stone on Twitter
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NEW: UK ambassador to EU publishes letter clarifying that Withdrawal Agreement Article 184 “imposes no obligations regarding territorial scope” – ie doesn’t prejudge Gibraltar requiring separate bilateral UK-Spain discussion

Faisal Islam on Twitter

Spain has reached a deal with the EU on Gibraltar, clearing the way for a Brussels summit on Sunday to approve a Brexit deal with Theresa May, a diplomatic source has told Reuters.

“Negotiations went on through the night with Spain and Britain. In a telephone conversation just now (European Council President Donald) Tusk and (Spanish Prime Minister Pedro) Sanchez reached an agreement on Gibraltar,” the source said.

“The summit will go ahead.”

Boris Johnson says he is at the DUP conference to support the party’s policy of a strong union between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Reuters is quoting an EU diplomat as saying the summit will go ahead as planned on Sunday.

EU summit chairman Donald Tusk says a Brexit summit on Sunday which was in doubt over Spanish concerns on Gibraltar was now closer to going ahead after he spoke to Spain’s PM.

“After the phone call between (European Council President Tusk) and (Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez) a few minutes ago, we are closer to tomorrow’s (European Council),” Mr Tusk’s spokesman said on Twitter.

What Boris Johnson wants

The ex-foreign secretary (pictured with Arlene Foster) says: “Best thing is to junk the backstop and get both sides to agree there’s no need for a hard border in Ireland. And take that discussion out of the withdrawal agreement and put it for the negotiations that are going to take place in the next couple of years.

“We also need to get ready as a country for no deal. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think we’re going to get a very good deal but it’s important to show we’re negotiating with confidence.”

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DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds: “Gibraltar is British and we will use our voices and our votes in parliament to stand with British Gibraltar.”

The party has pledged to use its 10 votes in parliament to support the cause of Gibraltar if necessary.

The EU is trying to broker a compromise between Spain and UK over the future of the British territory as Madrid threatens to derail May’s Brexit plans.

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#Brexit summit update – “formal invitations have not been sent to leaders” h/t @aqbyrne Still serious ? over whether tomorrow’s summit will happen because of Spain’s intervention on #Gibraltar. There is still time to overcome this hurdle but not much

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds: “Not a deal at any price. Bin the backstop.”

He tells party’s conference: “It’s not too late for PM to change course. The DUP wants a deal with EU. We understand that businesses, families and communities want certainty. But not this deal. It’s not a deal at any price. PM used to say that. We still say that. Bin the backstop.”

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds: “Working with the Tories is in the national interest.”

A knighthood for Tory eurosceptic John Hayes (pictured in blue jacket) has sparked criticism from fellow Brexiteers, including Mark Francois who has sent him a sarcastic letter.

In it, Mr Francois – who has called for a confidence vote in Mrs May – suggested his coat of arms should be an “utter c**k rampant on one side and a big chicken on the other”.

He also claimed Sir John could write down his political principles “on the back of an old postage stamp”.

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“Predictable drama at the end” says one EU source to me on the only issue now holding up the rubberstamping of the #Brexit agreement in Brussels this weekend. Talks continue on Gibraltar. All other concerns have now been addressed.


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