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The British prime minister, Theresa May, has stopped Spain in its tracks over its intentions to use Brexit negotiations to gain joint sovereignty or even control of Gibraltar. May has told the House of Commons today that British sovereignty over the dependency "will be protected".

Spain ceded control of Gibraltar to Great Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which also saw Great Britain leave the War of the Spanish Succession, leading to the victory of the Bourbon side which controlled the majority of Spain against the Habsburg Austrians who were allied with Catalonia.

May, who yesterday spoke with her Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, told the British Parliament that she was "absolutely clear" with him on the issue of Gibraltar. She said that any deal "must work for the whole UK family".

The prime minister expressed confidence that a deal will be reached during an EU summit on Sunday. "The British people want us to move on, and the deal that will enable us to do this is now within our grasp," she said.

May has today argued for her deal both in a speech in front of Number 10 Downing Street and in a debate in the House of Commons.

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