Mrs May’s precariously poised Brexit is set to be demolished by Spain using Article 50 negotiations to cynically win concessions from Britain on the future of Gibraltar. Just hours after the Prime Minister appeared to have just about headed-off an internal coup spearheaded by Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis it emerged Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was intent on rejecting the draft Brexit deal without changes to text on Gibraltar’s status in talks.
And unless all 27 EU nations agree on the Brexit deal the whole thing goes back to the drawing board. In a bombshell intervention, PSOE leader Mr Sanchez insisted negotiations on the Rock should be between Spain and the UK only.
It comes as Gibraltar’s leader Fabian Picardo hit back at Spain’s government for threatening to derail the draft Brexit withdrawal deal.
The Rock’s Chief Minister spoke out after Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell insisted negotiations on Gibraltar’s future should be “separate” to the UK’s main Brexit talks with EU leaders.
Mr Sanchez backed his Foreign Minister at a forum in Madrid on Tuesday.
The Spanish Prime Minister said: “As things stand today if there are no changes regarding Gibraltar, Spain will vote no on Brexit.
“As a country we cannot assume that whatever happens in the future with Gibraltar would be negotiated by the UK and EU – it will have to be negotiated between Spain and the UK.”
Spain has warned it won’t back a draft deal without clarification on Gibraltar’s status during negotiations on Britain leaving the EU.
Mr Borrell vowed not to sign off on the withdrawal agreement without guarantees from Brussels that it could veto the text, drawing criticism from Gibraltar’s Chief Minister.
Mr Picardo said: “It’s no surprise that we are seeing the Spanish Government raise issues at the last minute.
“The position taken by the Spanish Government today does little to build mutual confidence and trust going forward.
“The language of vetoes and exclusions should be the language of the past.”
He added: “It has no place in the modern Europe of today at a time when both the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are trying to build a new positive future relationship with the EU.”
Brussels sparked outrage last year when it granted Spain an effective veto on if Britain’s final Brexit deal would apply to Gibraltar.
Draft guidelines drawn up by EU leaders warned a Brexit deal would not apply to the Rock without agreement from Spain and the UK.
But Article 184 of the draft Brexit deal said the EU and the UK will seek to “negotiate rapidly the agreements governing their future relationship”.
Spain has demanded clarification of the article’s meaning.
A spokesman for Theresa May was adamant the language covered “the other overseas territories and the crown dependencies”.
The spokesman said: ”We will get a deal that works for the whole UK family.”
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood, who worked with Gibraltar’s Governor in the 1990s, reiterated Britain’s support for the Rock after Spain’s threat to derail the Brexit deal.
Mr Ellwood told Express.co.uk: “What is very clear is our relationship with Gibraltar remains as close as ever.
“Having lived there myself I know how passionate they are about the bond with Britain.
“In the draft document there are clauses that ensure Gibraltar’s sovereignty and relationship with Britain will continue.
“We are well aware of Spain’s interests here. But the earnest debate takes place in Brussels and that includes on where Gibraltar sits.”
It comes ahead of a crunch EU summit on November 25 where leaders will meet to rubber-stamp the Brexit deal struck with Theresa May.