United Kingdom and European Union reach draft deal on future relations after Brexit


Agreement on the text was announced by European Council president Donald Tusk, who said in a tweet: "I have just sent to EU27 a draft Political Declaration on the Future Relationship between EU and UK".

Theresa May met with European Commission president Jean-Claude Junker on Wednesday in an attempt to finalise details of the political declaration.

The two sides commit to "an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense and wider areas of cooperation".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed his party would not back it, saying: "This is the blindfold Brexit we all feared, a leap in the dark".

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May admitted that she and Juncker still needed to iron out several key issues before the text can be finalised, which prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say that if the text was not fully agreed upon in time for Sunday's Summit, she would not come to Brussels.

On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May again defended a draft Brexit deal in the UK Parliament's House of Commons.

May said the two instructed their negotiating teams to work through the night if necessary to reach an agreement.

Since unveiling her draft agreement last week, the PM has repeatedly warned MPs that failure to approve it would risk a no-deal Brexit, or no Brexit at all.

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The separate, non-legally-binding, Political Declaration sets out broad aspirations for the kind of relationship the United Kingdom and European Union will have after Brexit.

Other leading pro-Brexit Conservative MPs, as well as her Northern Irish allies the DUP, urged May to renegotiate the divorce agreement to remove a contentious legal guarantee to ensure an open Irish border.

Spain wants the future of the tiny territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula - ceded to Britain in 1713 but still claimed by Spain - to be a bilateral issue between Madrid and London. "And I think the job of an MP is actually, when they come to look at voting for this deal, to say to themselves, 'Does it deliver on what people voted for?' - I believe it does - and secondly, 'What do we need to focus on for our constituents, for people up and down the country?'"

Spain has no ability to "veto Brexit" or unilaterally block the UK's withdrawal agreement, with the 585-page legal text only needing to be ratified by a qualified majority of European Union members.

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"This is the right deal for the UK".

Conservative rebels have vowed to defeat the prime minister while the Northern Ireland DUP, which props up her minority government, has threatened to break its deal with the prime minister.

Spain will seek to veto the accord if its objections to the text aren't addressed, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a news conference in Valladolid.

In London, May is due to address lawmakers later Thursday and hold talks with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country holds the rotating European Union presidency until the end of the year.

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