Brexit deal 'within our grasp'
But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez maintains his opposition to the deal
Image credit: PA
Theresa May has said a deal is “within our grasp” as EU officials meet to finalise the Brexit deal and address last-minute demands from Spain for a say on future decisions about Gibraltar.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has repeated his opposition to the deal, which is expected to be signed off by member states on Sunday.
While no single member state has the power to veto the deal, Brussels wants unanimous approval.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, May said she and Sanchez had discussed the issue in a telephone call on Wednesday night, and insisted the UK has "been working constructively" with both Spain and Gibraltar to find a solution to the dispute.
She added: "We want this work to continue in the future relationship.
“But I was absolutely clear that Gibraltar’s British sovereignty will be protected and that the future relationship we agree must work for the whole UK family."
But in a tweet last night, Sanchez said: "After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away.
“My Government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit."
EU leaders are meeting to discuss the withdrawal agreement setting out the terms for the UK's departure from the EU, as well as the political declaration on the future relationship between the UK and EU.
The declaration has been heavily criticised by many MPs for lacking detail.
May addressed the media outside No 10 on Thursday, after the European Council said the political declaration had been "agreed in principle".
She said: "The British people want Brexit to be settled, they want a good deal that sets us on a course for a brighter future, and they want us to come together as a country and to move on to focus on the big issues at home, like our NHS.
"The deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp. In these crucial 72 hours ahead, I will do everything possible to deliver it for the British people."
The move comes just days after the UK Government was criticised following reports that officials had been told to shelve no-deal planning
With up to 10,000 EU citizens employed in food and drink sector, the Scottish Government has launched support services to help EU citizens remain in Scotland after Brexit
Theresa May is heading to Berlin and Paris for talks with Merkel and Macron ahead of Wednesday's emergency European Council summit
Solicitor general Robert Buckland spoke out as negotiations between the UK Government and opposition are expected to continue