Brexit LIVE: 'Constitutional DEADLOCK' warns Hunt as May declares there is NO Plan B

Posted on Nov 24 2018 - 6:37am by admin

Mr Hunt held a Facebook Live Q&A, where he answered questions on the Breit drsaft agreement, which is due to be debated and passed throguh Parliament  -but said a crisis would form if MPs failed to back her new controversial plan – but also admitted there was huge unresolved issues relating to the Northern Ireland backstop. Earlier on Friday, the Prime Minister also took calls from members of the public during a phone in on BBC Radio 5 Live. Mrs May was pressed on what a Plan B would be if her Brexit withdrawal agreement failed to win enough support from MPs to get through Parliament.

MPs from all parties, including more than 80 of her own, have said they will not support the divorce deal Mrs May brought back from Brussels.

When pressed on 5Live what would happen in that case, the Prime Minister said Britain would be thrown back to square one but she would still deliver a no deal Brexit.

She said: “First of all my job is to persuade people to get this through.

READ MORE: Brexit BLOCK: ‘Betrayed’ Spain made Gibraltar threat for THIS key reason

Brexit news: Mr Hunt said ministers will cause a 'constitutional crisis' if they reject Brexit deal

Brexit news: Mr Hunt said ministers will cause a ‘constitutional crisis’ if they reject Brexit deal (Image: BBC/GETTY)

“There is a process, the government comes back with a statement, but I think that if this deal doesn’t go through, we end up back at square one.

“What we end up with is more uncertainty and more division frankly.

“And so I believe that if I go back to the EU and say, ‘People didn’t like that deal, can we have another one?’, I don’t think they are going to come to us and say we’ll give you a better deal.

“This is the deal that I think works for the UK.

Theresa May was quizzed on her plan B during a BBC phone in

Theresa May was quizzed on her plan B during a BBC phone in (Image: BBC)

“I’m working on making sure we get this vote through in Parliament.

“What I want to do is deliver Brexit and deliver it with a good deal. The focus of the government at this point in time is getting the deal through.

“As far as I am concerned the UK is leaving the EU on March 29, 2019. My job is to deliver brevet for the UK because that’s what people voted for.

Follow Express.co.uk for live updates below

19.40pm update: Spanish Prime Minister says guarantees over Gibraltar are “not enough”

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has claimed the current guarantees in place in the Brexit agreement “are not enough”, as friction continues over the sovereignty of the Rock.

Spain does not have the power to veto the Brexit agreement.

But despite this, Madrid has disputed the sovereignty of the territory amid fears it will be excluded from talks about its future, has demanded changes be made to the draft withdrawal agreement.

EU leaders have pledged to address Spain’s concerns to avoid having to redraft the already agreed documents.

But speaking in Havana, where he is on an official visit, Mr Sanchez said the EU summit on Sunday will not take place if noagreement is made on the disputed territory.

Speaking ata  news conference, Mr Sanchez said: “If there is no deal, it’s obvious that what will happen is that the European Council will most likely not take place.”

19.20pm update: Obama calls for a ‘smooth, orderely and transparent’ Brexit

Former US President Barack Obama said that Brexit should be conducted in a smooth fashion while holidjg a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During the press conference on Friday in Berlin, Mr Obama said he hoped Brexit will be “conducted in a smooth and orderly and transparent fashion – and preserve as closely as possible the economic and political and security relationships between the UK and EU”

Obama, who was president between 2009 and 2017, said: “The EU remains one of the world’s great political and economic achievements.”

He said that the acheivements of the EU “should not be taken for granted”.

Mrs Merkel, who recently resigned from her post as head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Germany, has been trying to derail the UK’s Brexit process.

She suggested countries should be willing to give up control over their own affairs to the European Union (EU) and let the organisation have more power in a veiled swipe at Brexit.

“Either you are one of those who believe they can solve everything on their own and only have to think about themselves. That is nationalism in its purest form. This is not patriotism. Because patriotism is if you include others in the German interest and accept win-win situations.”

Brexit news: Philip Hammond claims the government and DUP

Brexit news: Philip Hammond claims the government and DUP “will sort out” Irish backstop (Image: GETTY)

6.30pm update: Chancellor says Government ‘considering’ providing extra border backstop assurances to the DUP

Chancellor Philip Hammond has stated the Government and DUP will “sort out” the Irish Border dispute, as pressure from the Northern Irish political party continues over the much-disputed Irish backstop.

Mr Hammond said ministers have a number of choices through the parliamentary process, which include extending the Brexit implementation period ahead of the permanent relationship.

The implementation period extension could avoid having to use a backstop, in which the UK would continue to follow EU regulations relating to trade across the Irish border – a solution which is adamantly opposed by the DUP.

Earlier in the day, Mr Hammond visited a school in Moira, Co Down and told the BBC: “I would much prefer to see us extending the implementation period and I am sure my DUP colleagues would take the same view.

Brexit news: The DUP leader said nobody would implement the Irish Backstop

Brexit news: The DUP leader said nobody would implement the Irish backstop (Image: BBC RADIO ULSTER)

“So we need to look at how we can provide reassurance about how we will use the options that the agreement gives us.”

The DUP has promised to oppose the Prime Minister’s draft Withdrawal Agreement with the EU over its concerns about the Irish backstop arrangement, which is designed to prevent the imposition of a hard Irish border. It would mean Northern Ireland continuing to follow EU regulations relating to matters like cross-border trade.

Meanwhile, DUP leader Arlene Foster said that the party would have to review its confidence and supply deal if the Brexit agreement made it through parliament.

The leader insisted the government should “ditch the Irish backstop” as nobody will implement a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mrs Foster told Radio Ulster’s Inside Politcis programme: “If this is not going to deliver on Brexit then of course that brings us to the situation of looking again at the confidence and supply deal. But we are not there yet.”

Jeremy hunt answers questions from the public on Facebook Live

Mr Hunt said a constitutional deadlock would take place if Parliament hadn’t backed Mrs May’s deal (Image: FACEBOOK/JEREMYHUNTSWS)

5.30pm update: Foreign Secretary says “constitutional deadlock” would arise if Parliament rejected Mrs May’s deal

Answering questions on Facebook, Mr Hunt admitted there were still huge concerns over “the Northern Ireland backstop”.

He told social media users: “The question to ask yourselves is: can this agreement be a staging post to the kind of  that we all want, with Britain as an independent, sovereign country negotiating trade deals with countries all over the world, control of our waters, control of our agriculture industry?

“The answer is it can be. It’s really important that we grasp that at this stage and get behind Theresa May, who I think many people recognise has probably got the most difficult job of any prime minister or president in the western world at the moment and has negotiated a very difficult deal despite not having a parliamentary majority.

“This is the time when we need to support her and finish the job for the British people and deliver them the  they were promised.”

But the Foreign Secretary, who supports Theresa May’s new Brexit deal, said a “constitutional deadlock” would arise if the House rejected Mrs May’s deal and reiterated his support.

Mr Hunt said: “We would be in a situation where the UK Government has negotiated a deal which Parliament has not been able to agree with at that stage. I think there would be huge amount of worry by many people who just want the Government to get on and deliver.

“I think we have to remember what our voters think as we make this decision about what’s going to happen when that crucial vote happens.”

Spanish Secretary of State for the Eu claims Theresa May mad a desperate phone call to Pedro Sanchez

Spanish Secretary of State for the Eu claims Theresa May mad a desperate phone call to Pedro Sanchez (Image: EPA/GETTY)

5.00pm update: Spain in FURIOUS phone call to Theresa May over Gibraltar ‘DO NOT LECTURE ME’

Luis Marco Aguiriano, Spanish Secretary of State for the EU, claimed the British Prime Minister tried to convince her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez to drop his last-minute opposition to the draft Brexit agreement, arguing her own parliamentary position was weak and she needed his solidarity.

Eleventh-hour negotiations on Gibraltar finished without an agreement between EU member states today, with the British territory fast becoming the big stumbling block in signing off the withdrawal agreement on Sunday.

Spain wants a say in any decision on the future of Gibraltar, threatening to veto the withdrawal agreement if it does not get its way.

Mr Aguiriano said: “Theresa May made a series of comments about her political fragility and her current lack of parliamentary majority and she asked for solidarity and support.

“Mr Sanchez told her not to lecture him about parliamentary majorities. Mr Sanchez asked Theresa May, ‘Tell me please ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, will you accept from now on that there will be direct negotiation between Spain and the UK over issues relating to Gibraltar?

“It’s a simple question, ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If it’s a ‘No’, there’s not a lot left for us to talk about.”

Brexit news: The EU looks to make deal even harder to navigate with new fishing demands

Brexit news: The EU looks to make deal even harder to navigate with new fishing demands (Image: GETTY)

4.30pm update: EU27 draw up tough new demands to lock UK into joint fisheries deal

European Union countries are preparing to heap misery on Theresa May and make the Prime Minister’s controversial Brexit deal even harder to navigate through Parliament with new fishing demands.

European capitals are working on a series of side declarations as they continue to flesh out the terms on how Britain’s future partnership with Brussels will be negotiated – including new plans for the deal on fisheries.

The Prime Minister has been forced to deny claims she will hand over access to British territorial fishing waters in exchange for a trade deal with Brussels after the publication of the 26-page “political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom”.

The aspirational wish list acts as a blueprint for UK and EU negotiators to follow when working on the future trade and security relationship, which will be prepared during the 21-month transition period ending in December 2020.

The news follows Michael Gove’s outline for a UK Fisheries Policy which would override the EU Common Fisheries policy, to help protect Britain Marine coastline industries – but it was criticised by the Shadow Environment Secretary  for not offering enough fisihing quota to smaller, independent boats and fishing companies. 

Mr Lammy called Theresa May's Brexit plan 'anti-democratic'

Brexit news: Mr Lammy called Theresa May’s Brexit plan ‘anti-democratic’ (Image: GETTY)

4.15pm update: EU best for Britain politician criticises Mrs May for remaining elusive on Brexit when quizzed by phone-in caller.

The pro-European Union campaign group Best for Britain campaign has commented on May’s refusal to say whether her deal would leave the UK better off than if it remained in the EU when asked by a member of the public during a Radio 5 Live phone in.

Labour MP David Lammy, on the of group’s advocates, said it wa time to “abandon the project” and that the deal was “anti-democratic”:

Mr Lammy wrote: “This is a huge concession from the prime minister. Even she can’t bring herself to say Brexit will make the country stronger than staying in the EU.

“When the architect of a new building cannot endorse the design, it is time to abandon the project.

“The deal is anti-democratic and no deal is a disaster that no parliament in its right mind would allow.

“Faced with such appalling options, and a clear as day shift in the public mood to backing our current EU membership, it’s only right that the public are given the final say – whether Theresa May is prime minister or not.”

Tensions have been made worse by a British supermarket's 'twist' on a Spanish favourite

Tensions have been made worse by a British supermarket’s ‘twist’ on a Spanish favourite (Image: TWITTER/FIFIMADRID)

16.00pm update: Morrisons sparks British-Spanish tensions – with introduction of cheese flavoured Churros

British supermarket Morrisons sparked outrage among Spanish social media users on Friday when it announced the release of cheese churros as part of its Christmas range.

Morrisons’ savoury churros are filled with melted cheese and accompanied by a red pepper sauce, rather than filled withg sweet terats such as chocolate and salted caramel.

But Spanish spcial media users saw the range as an affront to one of their favoured delicacies. 

Editor of The Local in Spain, Fiona Govan, shared news on Twitter, writing: “British supermarket Morrisons is launching the ultimate Christmas treat (apparently): Cheesy churros with tomato and red pepper sauce for dipping. Wait until Spain hears about this…

Dominic Raab said it was 'inevitable' that parliament would vote down Mrs May's new deal

Dominic Raab said it was ‘inevitable’ that parliament would vote down Mrs May’s new deal (Image: GETTY)

15.30pm update: Dominic Raab says prime minister;s deal “worse than staying in the EU”

Earlier in the day. Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has hit out at Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, branding it worse than remaining in the EU.

The prominent Leave backer said the agreement would see the UK bound by rules it had no control over.

Asked if the PM’s deal was worse than remaining in the bloc, Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not going to advocate staying in the EU.

“But, if you just presented me terms, this deal or EU membership, because we would effectively be bound by the same rules but without the control or voice over them, yes, I think this would be even worse than that.”

But Downing Street insisted that Mrs May does not share her former Brexit secretary’s assessment.

Asked whether the Prime Minister believed that it would be better for the UK to stay in the EU than accept her deal, a Number 10 spokeswoman said: “Categorically no.

“This deal delivers on the vote of the British people by taking back control of our money, our laws and our borders, it ends free movement once and for all and it will protect jobs with a deal which is good for the economy.”

Mrs May told a 5 Live caller that the EU

Mrs May told a 5 Live caller that the EU “wouldn’t offer us another deal” (Image: GETTY)

3.14pm update: Prime Minister says that EU “will not offer us a better deal”

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, the Prime Minister again used the opportunity to warn MPs unhappy with her deal that it is too late for the UK to go back to Brussels.

In a BBC phone-in as part of her drive to sell the agreement to the public, Mrs May insisted there is no mood on the EU side for fresh concessions.

“If we were to go back to the European Union and say “People didn’t like that deal can we have another one?,” I don’t think they are going to come to us and say “We will give you a better deal”.

“This is the deal that I think works for the UK,” she said.

2:57pm update: Backstop could make UK trade deals “quite difficult” says Fox

If the backstop insurance arrangement comes into effect, it could complicate UK efforts to negotiate free trade agreements with other countries, Liam Fox has said.

The international trade secretary, speaking on a visit to Northern Ireland, said not knowing when the end date would be would make it difficult to know when the UK could agree the start of trade deals with countries other than the EU.

He said: “If we were in the backstop, it would be quite difficult for us to engage with partners, not knowing when the end date would be when we could implement any agreement.

“And so our aim is that we would never get to the backstop.”

He added that reservations in Britain, Ireland and the EU about the backstop mean it would hopefully not be used.

He said the concerns are “the best guarantee we’d never actually get there.”

Liam Fox has said using the backstop could complicate future free trade deals for the UK

Liam Fox has said using the backstop could complicate future free trade deals for the UK (Image: AFP/Getty)

2.42pm update: Ireland approves Withdrawal Agreement

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has informed the European Union his country has approved the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement and political declaration ahead of this weekend’s Brexit leaders summit.

Mr Varadkar has spoken to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker this afternoon by phone, the Irish government confirmed.

A spokesman for Mr Varadkar said: “Mr Varadkar informed Mr Juncker that the Dail had approved the Withdrawal Agreement.”

The Taoiseach also told Mr Juncker that the Irish Government was happy with the text of the political declaration on the future relationship.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has informed the EU that Ireland approves the Brexit deal

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has informed the EU that Ireland approves the Brexit deal (Image: GETTY)

2:30pm update: Nine-year-old made Theresa May a cake after her “tough week”

Last week week was one of the toughtest of Theresa May’s entire political career.

The Prime Minister finally managed to secure a Brexit agreement with Brussels, only for it to be roundly criticised back at home and dozens of Tory MPs submitting letters of no-confidence.

But Mrs May has revealed some members of the public from all over the country rallied to her support in other ways.

The Prime Minister said she received flowers and even a cake from a young girl to help her get through the week.

Mrs May told the BBC: “I’ve had a huge number of messages – really kind messages – from people up and down the country, who have sent me flowers.

“One nine-year-old, Gabby Balaes, actually baked a cupcake with my face on it. There was a message.

“It said that her dad had said I’d had a tough week and she wanted to make me smile.”

2:06pm update: Theresa May tries to avoid Brexit question during radio interview

Theresa May  refused to answer whether she thinks her Brexit deal is better than remaining in the EU during a question and answer session with members of the public.

The Prime Minister, who voted to Remain in the EU referendum, was answering questions from the public about her draft exit agreement the BBC News channel and Radio 5 Live when caller Michael quizzed her.

But when she was pressed to answer Yes or No by host Emma Barnett, Mrs May instead explained her deal is “very different” to remaining in the EU. 

READ MORE: Theresa May asked which is better: Her Brexit deal or staying in EU – with TELLING answer

1:47pm update: Spanish EU officials shouted at German counterpart in furious row over Gibraltar

Two EU officials shouted at each other in a furious fall out over Gibraltar as final Brexit talks boiled over, it has emerged.

Spanish bureaucrat Pablo Garcia-Berdoy angrily compared British rule over the Rock to that of the Soviet Union’s grasp on East Germany when he lambasted German diplomat Michael Clauss.

The hostility erupted during a meeting of EU ambassadors on Tuesday, according to accounts of diplomats who were present.

Spanish permanent secretary Mr Garcia-Berdoy is said to have raised his voice at his Berlin counterpart when Mr Clauss pleaded with Spain to sign the agreement despite their hesitations over Gibraltar.

According to one diplomat who witnessed the incident, Mr Garcia Berdoy responded by comparing Gibraltar to East Germany.

The Spaniard said: “We supported the unification of Germany as an act of solidarity.

“Where is the solidarity with us now?”

Spanish EU official Pablo Garcia-Berdoy shouted at his German counterpart

Spanish EU official Pablo Garcia-Berdoy shouted at his German counterpart (Image: GETTY)

1:30pm update: EU budget commissioner says he would not expect a billion pound budget gap in the case of a hard Brexit

Some EU officials fear if the UK leaves without a Brexit deal the EU budget would be left with a huge gap no longer filled by British funding.

According to Austrian news outlet vol.at, Gunther Oettinger described the fears as a “scare tactic”.

He said: “At the moment it would be a scare tactic.

“We have not prepared a plan B.

“The entire signal from London stands for fulfilment and compliance with all rights and obligations in 2019.”

1:17pm update: Angela Merkel says there is still more that needs to be done on Brexit

Angela Merkel has said she still sees a further need for discussion ahead of Sunday’s EU leader’s summit.

Speaking at the German Employers’ Day event in Berlin she said: “We have already made some progress.”

She added there needs “much more discussion, especially in the UK” but she would “do everything possible” to reach an agreement.

Angela Merkel has said she won't attend Sunday's summit if negotiations are still open

Angela Merkel has said she won’t attend Sunday’s summit if negotiations are still open (Image: GETTY)

12:54pm update: More from the Prime Minister

Caller Michael asked if she thought the UK would be better in or out of the EU, given she was a Remainer.

The Prime Minister answered: “I think we will be better off in a situation we will have outside the European Union where we have control of all those things and are able to trade around the rest of the world.

“I was one of those people who said it wasn’t going to be the case that outside the EU we would have the problems that others said we would.

“What will make us better off is not so much whether we are in the EU or not, it’s what we can do for our economy, for our prosperity.

“That’s about things like our industrial stregty as a government, ensuring we are at the leading edge of technological developments.

“It’s what we do, our future is in our hands and that’s what’s important.

“I believe we can build a better future outside the European Union.

Theresa May was asked if she thought the UK would be better in or out of the EU

Theresa May was asked if she thought the UK would be better in or out of the EU on the phone in show (Image: BBC)

12:41pm update: Prime Minister speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live urges MPs to vote for her deal

Theresa May is taking calls from listeners live on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Her first caller, Sarah from Gillingham, asked Mrs May if she believes she will get her deal through Parliament despite so many MPs saying they will vote it down.

The Prime Minister replied: “In a sense there are two conversations going on, who will vote for the deal and who won’t vote for deal in Parliament.

“I believe this is the right deal for the UK, my job is to persuade people of that view.

“I think the job of an MP is to say to themselves, does it deal deliver on what people voted for, I believe it does, and secondly what do we need to focus on for our constituents?

“I believe the future of people’s jobs is what should be at the forefront of MP’s minds.”

12:34pm update: Theresa May says she will work with Spain to ensure a smooth Brexit

Spain’s eleventh-hour objections over Gibrlatar mean the final text on the Brexit deal has still not been finalised ahead of Sunday’s EU leader’s summit.

Prime Minister Theresa May has replied to the Spanish leader’s threats to veto Brexit.

Her spokeswoman told Reuters the Prime Minister will work with Spain on Brexit but added that Britain has worked openly with the EU on Gibraltar and will fight to secure a good deal for the “whole of the UK family.”

Gibraltar's Chief Minister says Spain should respect the territory's place in Brexit

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister says Spain should respect the territory’s place in Brexit (Image: GETTY)

12:17pm update: EU negotiators fail to agree on Gibraltar future

Negotiators from the 27 remaining EU states have failed to agree on Gibraltar’s future during talks on Friday.

Diplomatic sources said the territory’s status has not yet been finalised ahead of Sunday’s summit to finalise the deal.

The news leaves the entire Brexit deal on the brink of collapse after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez threatened to veto the agreement if his country’s concerns about the Rock were not addressed.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will make a desperate plea to the DUP today

Chancellor Philip Hammond will make a desperate plea to the DUP today (Image: GETTY)

11:24 update: Hammond in make desperate plea to DUP conference

Chancellor Philip Hammond will fly to Belfast this afternoon to make a last minute desperate plea to the Democratic Union Party to support the Brexit deal as the Prime Minister prepares for this weekend’s crunch EU summit.

He will speak this evening at the DUP’s conference but his speech could be overshadowed by an appearance by arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson who will ask DUP MPs to vote down the deal tomorrow.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will also be in Northern Ireland today as he visits a business on the Irish border.

The DUP is opposed to the Prime Minister’s negotiated deal over the backstop agreement, accusing it of treating Northern Ireland differently.

DUP leader Arlene Foster says she can not accept the Prime Minister's Brexit deal

DUP leader Arlene Foster says she can not accept the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal (Image: GETTY)

The DUP’s leader, Arlene Foster, has said she can not accept the Prime Minister’s agreement with Brussels.

She has previously said: “It is worrying times, there’s no doubt about that.

“We cannot be separated from the rest the UK, either in terms of customs or regulatory alignment.

“Regulatory alignment would mean we would diverge from the rest of the UK.

“We would stay in the single market and the rest of the UK would not.

“That means we would have a democratic deficit as we would be taking rules from the European Union and have no influence in those rules.”

10:52am update: Pound sterling falls on Brexit latest

Pound sterling has fallen a quarter of a percent today after Spain threatened to veto Brexit negotiations ahead of Sunday’s EU leaders summit to sign off the deal.

The pound-euro exchange rate fell to £1/€1.127 on the news.

Yesterday the pound reached a high of €1.13 when it was announced text for the political declaration had been agreed.

EU Council president Donald Tusk said yesterday: “It has been agreed at negotiators’ level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to the endorsement of the leaders.”

The text is being finalised by EU ambassadors today ahead of Sunday’s summit.

Pound euro exchange rate: Sterling fell to €1.127

Pound euro exchange rate: Sterling fell to €1.127 (Image: Bloomberg)

10:29am update: Support for Theresa May’s deal will grow says cabinet minister

As the Prime Minister faces unprecdented rebellion from her own party as well as opposition from across the House of Commons, one cabinet member believes Mrs May can win over enough support to get her deal through Parliament.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said once MPs realise the only other option to supporting Theresa May’s agreement is no deal, they will vote for it.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The deal that we have on the table is a strong deal. It is a good, balanced deal.

“As people reflect on what the alternatives are, I think people are going to come to see this is a very good deal for Britain.”

Mr Hinds, a Remainer, said if the deal did not pass it would be “unpredictable” as to what happens next.

“There is a risk on the one hand beyond that of no Brexit at all – and there are people trying to thwart Brexit – and there is also a risk of no deal.

“Neither of those two things are attractive. This is why I believe this deal, which is a strong deal, will gain more and more traction.”

Damian Hinds believes support for Mrs May's deal will grow

Damian Hinds believes support for Mrs May’s deal will grow (Image: GETTY)

10:07am update: The Royal Navy will protect British fishermen and UK fish stocks after Brexit, the defence secretary says

Three Royal Navy gunships will offer extra protection to ensure Britain’s fish stocks are not plundered by foreign nations after Brexit.

The Royal navy’s five Offshore Patrol Vessels will support Britain’s fishing fleet in the wake of the recent clashes between British and French fishermen in the English Channel dubbed the “scallops war”.

READ MORE: Royal Navy gunships offer extra protection to UK fishermen in wake of scallops war

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the Royal Navy will protect British fishermen

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said the Royal Navy will protect British fishermen (Image: GETTY)

9:53am update: Gibraltar hits back at Spain’s veto threats

After Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez vowed to veto Brexit if Madrid’s demands on Gibraltar were not met, the territory’s chief minister fired back.

Fabian Picardo said Spain should respect the “good faith” agreement that has already been negotiated and talks should not be reopened “for one comma or full stop.”

He told BBC radio: “We’ve worked very hard and have in fact reached agreement with Spanish colleagues in respect of Gibraltar’s role in the withdrawal process… in good faith, we’ve worked together and we’ve delivered.

“If the withdrawal agreement is opened for one comma or one full-stop on Gibraltar, it’s going to be re-opened on any of the other issues.”

9.43am update: What will happen if Parliament votes down Theresa May’s deal?

If the Prime Minister thought negotiating with 27 other EU countries was difficult, she has an even harder job ahead.

Getting her final deal through Parliament is looking like a nigh on impossible task as hundreds of MPs from all political parties have said they will vote against her deal.

Downing Street has spoken on the problem, telling the Express.co.uk exactly what position Theresa May will be left in if MPs fail to approve the agreement.

READ MORE: REVEALED: THIS is what will happen if MPs vote DOWN Theresa May’s deal in Parliament

9.32am update: Today is the final day for negotiating

EU ambassadors are meeting today to finalise the political declaratio, each having told their leader it will be completed by the end of the day.

All 27 ambassadors have agreed not to reopen negotations tomorrow or Sunday, leaving many in Brussels scratching their heads as to why Theresa May will fly to Brussels tomorrow to meet Jean-Claude Juncker.

Politico report that one diplomat said German Chancellor Angela Merkel won’t even show up to Sunday’s summit if talks are ongoing.

They quoted the diplomat as saying: “She has already made clear that she will not attend the summit if the text has not already been locked down.

“The Commission said the text was agreed by May and one of the conditions of the meeting is not to re-open it.”

Yesterday, Mrs Merkel said countries should be willing to give up sovereignty to organisations like the EU

9.13am update: More than half of Tory MPs will vote down May’s deal

88 Tory MPs have now indicated their opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to Buzzfeed who are tracking MPs comments on how they will vote when the deal is put to Parliament next month.

Alex Wickham, the website’s senior political correspondent, reported Gordon Henderson is the latest MP to voice his opposition to the Prime Minister’s draft withdrawal agreement.

The figure leaves Mrs May seriously struggling to find a majority to back her deal, she has just two weeks to turn the situation around.

Parliament is pencilled in to vote on the deal on the week beginning Monday, December 10.

9.03am update: Why should we listen to Spain’s threats?

Spain says they will veto the Brexit deal and while he does not have the power to do so his threats do still matter.

The Withdrawal Agreement needs signatures from only 20 of the 27 EU countries and Spain are largely isolated on their Gibraltar demands.

All other EU countries are ready to sign the deal meaning it is likely to pass without difficulty.

However the Spanish PM’s demands matter because those same demands relate to trade between the UK and EU across the Gibraltar border.

So a future trade deal, which must be agreed by every single EU member state, will be subject to the same Spanish demands, meaning Mr Sanchez could cause serious trouble from Theresa May and the rest of the EU when they come to negotiating a free trade agreement.

However treasury minister Mel Stride has said the UK will not compromise on Gibraltar.

Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo said the negotiations should not be reopened

Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo said the negotiations should not be reopened (Image: GETTY)

If there are no changes, we will veto.

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez

8:51am update: Spain does not have power to veto Brexit, despite Prime Minister Sanchez’s threats

Spain does not have the power to veto Brexit, according to an EU law expert.

However that has not stopped the country’s Prime Minister threatening to bring an end to negotiations.

Mr Pedro tweeted his threats to Theresa May: “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.”

Madrid disputes the sovereignty of the territory and, amid fears it will be excluded from talks about its future, has demanded changes be made to the draft withdrawal agreement.

EU leaders have pledged to address Spain’s concerns in a separate statement to avoid having to redraft the already agreed documents.

However, Catherine Barnard, professor of EU law and employment law at Trinity College, Cambridge, said Theresa May’s deal will be voted on by the EU using their qualified majority voting system, meaning only 20 of the remaining 27 member states need to approve it.

“So Spain doesn’t actually have the legal power to block the agreement on the divorce,” she told the BBC.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has threatened to veto Brexit despite not having the power to do so

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has threatened to veto Brexit despite not having that power (Image: GETTY)

8.37am update: Germany preparing for a no deal Brexit

Germany is preparing for a no deal Brexit as it looks increasingly unsure if the Prime Minister can get her Brexit deal through Parliament.

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said Berlin is getting ready for Britain to leave the EU without a divorce agreement, adding it would be the worst outcome.

Mr Scholz told German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse: “An unregulated Brexit would be the worst outcome for Europe, but especially for Britain, because it would hit the British economy hard.

“We are preparing very carefully for both options, the controlled and the uncontrolled Brexit.

“Both scenarios are posing challenges for us, but we can and will manage them.”

8.26am update: Ex-Brexit Secretary says May’s deal WILL get voted down in Parliament

The Prime Minister will not be able to get her deal through Parliament, a former Brexit secretary has said this morning.

Speaking to BBC Radio, Dominic Raab called for an alternative agreement to help avoid a no deal scenario.

Mr Raab, who quit the government the day after the Prime Minister announced she had reached a Brexit deal with the EU, said it was “inevitable” her plan would fail.

He said: “We will I think inevitably see parliament vote this deal down.

“And then I think some of those other alternatives will need to come into play.”

Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said it is

Ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said it is “inevitable” the Prime Minister’s plan will fail (Image: GETTY)

8.11am update: MPs comments leave May’s plan on a knife-edge

Rebel MPs have launched their most vicious attack on Theresa May’s Brexit plan yet.

It leaves the deal on a knife-edge as the Prime Minister scrambles to get enough MPs to get the deal through Parliament.

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and ex-International Development Secretary Priti Patel, both Brexiteers, have made scathing comments on the draft deal which is due to be signed off by the EU this weekend.

Mr Johnson said the agreement was the “deal of the century” for the EU and leaves the UK with “diddly squat”.

He told the Sun: “This is the deal of the century for the EU. We hand over almost £40billion from the UK taxpayer along with everything else they’ve demanded.

“But we get two-thirds of ­diddly-squat in return.”

Priti Patel labelled the deal a “costly surrender” to the EU.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has called the political declaration with the EU “26 pages of waffle.”

Boris Johnson says the UK will get

Boris Johnson says the UK will get “two thirds of diddly squat” from the EU (Image: GETTY)

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