Brexit deal: Nicola Sturgeon wants leaders' debate on draft agreement

Ms Sturgeon, responding to suggestions the prime minister is willing to debate Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in advance of a House of Commons vote, tweeted: “I can’t speak for @jeremycorbyn, but I’d be up for a full leaders’ debate on the ‘deal’. So, how about it PM @theresa_may?”

The SNP leader was scathing about Mrs May’s proposals after the pair held “full, frank and calm” talks on Brexit last week, likening it to asking people to “take a blindfold leap off a cliff”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve seen today the current draft – it’s not binding, it doesn’t have legal effect and effectively it amounts to the House of Commons being asked to vote to exit the EU without knowing what comes next.

“That’s asking people to take a blindfold leap off a cliff edge and I have said all along I just don’t think that’s a reasonable or acceptable thing to do.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the prime minister told Ms Sturgeon the plan is “the best deal that could have been negotiated”.

She said: “The Prime Minister made clear that we are negotiating a deal with the EU that works for all parts of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland – and delivers on the result of the referendum.

“The deal will give Scottish businesses the clarity and certainty they need to protect jobs and living standards, and see us take back control of our waters, improving the fortunes of our fishermen.”

As she prepared for talks with top Brussels officials ahead of Sunday’s EU leaders’ Brexit summit, Mrs May’s critics rounded on her.

In a speech to the party’s annual conference, DUP leader Arlene Foster urged the prime minister to re-negotiate the deal.

Earlier, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson told the same Belfast audience the prime minister’s deal “risks further economic and political humiliation” and was “not taking back controls of our laws and our borders”.

The chances of the plan being accepted by other EU members were boosted when Spain was given enough reassurances over its role in the affairs of Gibraltar.

Madrid had threatened to boycott the summit if the UK and EU did not confirm its right to veto any future Gibraltar deals.

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