British Prime Minister Theresa May gets in a car as she leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to attend Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

British, EU leaders to meet as Brexit deadline looms

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday in a bid to finalize a Brexit agreement as she continued to battle domestic critics of the draft deal.

The U.K. and the European Union agreed last week on a 585-page document sealing the terms of Britain’s departure, but are still working to nail down agreement on future relations.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels on Sunday to rubber-stamp the deal, but sticking points remain. Spain has said it will vote against if Gibraltar’s future isn’t considered a bilateral issue between Madrid and London.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Tuesday that his government “cannot accept that what will happen to Gibraltar in the future depends on negotiations between the U.K. and the EU.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that she hoped Spanish reservations could be overcome before Sunday’s summit. But, she added, “I can’t say how we will solve this issue.”

The deal, which spells out the conditions of Britain’s exit from the EU in March and a framework for future relations, also needs to be approved by the European and British Parliaments.

Read more: UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

Read more: EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

But May is under intense pressure from pro-Brexit and pro-EU British lawmakers, with large numbers on both sides of the debate opposing the divorce deal.

Before leaving for Brussels, she will face opponents of the agreement during the prime minister’s weekly question-and-answer session in the House of Commons.

She won a reprieve from some of her Conservative Party foes after pro-Brexit rebels acknowledged that a bid to trigger a no-confidence vote in May had failed, for now.

But Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party — whose 10 lawmakers prop up May’s minority — has begun abstaining on votes in the House of Commons as a sign of their displeasure at the deal. The DUP opposes plans for keeping the border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland open after Brexit, saying it weakens the ties binding the U.K. by creating separate trade rules for Northern Ireland.

The prospect of Parliament rejecting the deal when it comes up for a vote — likely next month — has increased fears among businesses that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a plan to keep trade running smoothly.

Conservative lawmakers loyal to May also warned that defeating the agreement could mean that Brexit never happens, because Parliament would halt Britain’s departure rather than accept a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit.

“I think people will take a careful look over the abyss … and consider whether they think it is in the best interests of the whole country,” Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said.

“The Brexiteers may lose their Brexit,” she added.

___

Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this story.

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Town grants Chamber $20K

Chamber estimates up to $65K in lost revenue, turns to council for help

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New Salt Boutique the realization of a vision for owner Caroline Marko

Marko combines the rough and the soft in a minimalist, clean airy space

Coastal GasLink pipeline work ramps up

With spring thaw ending, workers start to arrive for summer season

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read