Donald Tusk heads to Downing Street for Brexit talks

The future of Gibraltar is set to be high on the agenda as the two leaders discuss “the way ahead on Brexit”

Donald Tusk heads to Downing Street for Brexit talks

British Prime Minister Theresa May greets European Council president Donald Tusk outside 10 Downing Street, London, ahead of Brexit talks, 06-04-2017. Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

The President of the European Council is meeting with the British Prime Minister this afternoon for discussions on Brexit.

The meeting at Downing Street will allow the two leaders discuss “the way ahead on Brexit” just over a week after Theresa May triggered Article 50.

It is expected the simmering tensions between Spain and the UK over Gibraltar will be on the agenda, after the EU negotiation guidelines appeared to hand Spain a veto on any future trade deal - dependent on the territory's future.

The veto triggered an outraged response from certain British figures.

Over the weekend, former Conservative Party leader, Michael Howard urged Mrs May to take inspiration from the Falklands War and respond militarily should Brexit threaten Britain’s hold over the territory off the south of Spain.

Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis responded by telling the UK to calm down and not to "lose tempers."

EU Brexit negotiation guidelines

Mr Tusk announced he would be visiting Mrs May for talks ahead of the EU summit meeting at the end of the month when he officially unveiled the EU Brexit negotiation guidelines.

The timing of the trade talks is likely to be high on the agenda for discussion.

The draft guidelines said the UK would have to make "sufficient progress" on key divorce issues - such as settling the Brexit bill and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens - before starting talks on a future trade deal with the EU.

MEPs in the European Parliament on Wednesday went further and voted to delay trade talks until the key issues on Brexit were "fully resolved."

Two year period

In an interview with Sky News this week, Mrs May conceded that the UK might not get a trade deal signed off in the required two year time-frame.

Mrs May had hoped to see trade discussions start at the same time as the talks over the Brexit agreement.

She also appeared to soften her stance on freedom of movement after Brexit, indicating curbs would not be imposed in the immediate aftermath of leaving the EU.

The Labour Party in Britain has accused her of breaking her Brexit promises