Spain delivers vicious swipe at May amid threat to BLOCK Brexit deal

Mail Online | 11/21/2018 | James Tapsfield, Political Editor, For Mailonline
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Spain has risked fuelling a bitter spat with the UK by saying it would not block an independent Scotland from joining the EU.

Madrid ramped up Brexit tensions by signalling a shift in position - jibing that the UK will 'split apart before we do'.

Swipe - Row - Gibraltar - Brexit - Divorce

The swipe came as a row over Gibraltar threatens to derail the Brexit divorce package.

Spain has faced internal unrest over Catalan calls for independence.

Minister - Josep - Borrell - Idea - Brexit

But foreign minister Josep Borrell dismissed the idea that a bad Brexit deal could fuel those calls by driving a wedge between England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In comments that were gleefully retweeted by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, he made clear Spain would not stop an independent Scotland joining the EU if it left the UK on a legal basis with Westminster's consent.

Potential - Objections - Madrid - Independence - Campaign

The potential for objections from Madrid was deployed against the independence campaign during the 2014 referendum.

The burgeoning row is another headache for Theresa May as she tries to quell revolt at home.

Refuses - Rock - Part - Britain - Fact

Madrid refuses to accept The Rock is a part of Britain despite the fact it has been an overseas territory since 1713.

The divorce deal sets up a new UK-Spanish oversight committee to manage ties across the border after Brexit.

Spain - Opt - Trade - Deal - Part

But Spain is demanding a specific opt out on any trade deal be added to the part of the divorce committing the EU to negotiate it.

The divorce deal is supposed to be locked and not due to be reopened before Sunday's summit.

PM - Pedro - Sanchez - Business - Conference

However, PM Pedro Sanchez told a business conference in Madrid today that he currently is not prepared to sign off the package.

'As a country, we can't conceive that what will happen with the future of Gibraltar will depend on a negotiation between Britain and the European Union,' he said.

Consequence - Today

'As a consequence, today, I regret to say that a...
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