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

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

UPDATE: Fire above Sparwood no threat to community

Mayor David Wilks reported it may be due to an exposed coal seam

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

EKC makes $5,000 donation to Elk Valley ultrasound campaign

The EKC challenged other businesses to help the campaign hit its $300,000 target

City of Fernie to extend pilot snow removal program

Councillors voted unanimously on Sep. 17 to extend the program due to a lack of data points and disruption due to the pandemic

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read