Brexit deal approved by European Union leaders today

UK parliament to vote on Brexit deal before Christmas

Arriving for a special summit in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the bloc's executive arm, said it was a "sad day".

The European Commission chief warned the United Kingdom parliament it should not count on any renegotiation ahead of Britain's departure in March, as European Union leaders on Sunday approved a landmark agreement on Britain's exit.

Dozens of members of her own party have indicated they will not support the deal and the opposition Labour party plans to vote it down.

The deal will nearly certainly come with steep costs for both sides, leaving leaders in the extraordinary position of negotiating a split that they nearly all believe will harm their citizens.

Leo Varadkar was speaking before European Union leaders approved the withdrawal agreement at a special summit in Brussels.

Sunday newspapers said different factions in her own party were preparing alternative Brexit plans to keep Britain closer to the European Union should her deal fail as most expect. This is the best deal possible given the circumstances.

He said that "I hope that you agree that it is absolutely vital that we keep this partnership going".

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake claimed the PM had "caved in" and "appears to have cast the people of Gibraltar aside". We still say that.

Spain - which had threatened to boycott the summit - will attend after a last-minute disagreement over Gibraltar was resolved on Saturday.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country is one of Britain's closest trading partners, praised May's handling of the hard negotiations and said he was confident that she could see the deal through parliament in the coming weeks. Unlike the withdrawal agreement, which will be legally binding after it is approved by British and European parliaments, the political document is loosely worded and aspirational, an outline for future talks, which will likely take years to complete.




Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez withdrew a threat to boycott Sunday's European Council just hours before Britain's Theresa May was due in Brussels.

The U.K. Telegraph reported that the British government has conceded in writing that no part of any future trading agreement can apply to Gibraltar without the agreement of the Spanish government - leading to fears that the Spanish may use that power to extract a deep range of concessions on issues such as taxation and fishing.

The European Council also approved the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and Britain.

"No declarations agreed by the remaining EU 27 or the European Institutions will ever change the undiluted British sovereignty or security of Gibraltar", tweeted Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, in response to Sanchez's speech on Saturday.

Theresa May now has the seemingly impossible task of winning support for her deal in the Commons.

After EU leaders endorsed the deal, DUP leader Arlene Foster told broadcaster BBC that she would "review" the "confidence and supply" agreement propping up the minority Conservative government if the treaty were passed by Parliament.

'She is genuine when she says she wants to see an outcome that does no harm to the Union and the internal market of the United Kingdom.

The small DUP has an outsize role because its support has been crucial to May's shaky government, which doesn't enjoy a majority in Parliament.

What's to follow if a vote in British Parliament doesn't set the Brexit plan in motion is still unclear.

Using a press conference in Brussels to make a direct appeal to them, she said one of the benefits of her deal would be an end to "vast payments" into the European Union's budget. That pledge, which the prime minister has previously claimed is the result of a "Brexit dividend", echoes the £350m a week the Vote Leave campaign claimed on its battlebuses could be diverted to the the health service if Britain left the EU.

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