With regard to the Irish border issue, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the “backstop”) which is annexed to the agreement and sets out a fallback position that will only enter into force if no other effective arrangement is demonstrated before the end of the transition period. If this happens, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will remain in some aspects of the single market until such a demonstration is achieved. None of the parties can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a “hard” border in Ireland where customs controls are necessary.  The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the “Irish backstop”, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to prevent a hard border in Ireland following the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union. The Protocol contains a provision on a safety net to deal with circumstances in which other satisfactory arrangements have yet to enter into force at the end of the transition period. This project has been replaced by a new protocol which will be described below. An important difference between Mr Johnson`s Withdrawal Agreement and Mrs May`s Withdrawal Agreement is that the environmental protection provisions have been removed and can now be found in the amended political declaration. While the Withdrawal Agreement would be a legally binding treaty between the UK and the EU once ratified, the Political Declaration, as mentioned above, would not be binding, at least under international law. Therefore, according to Mr Johnson`s proposal, the provisions on environmental standards would not be binding on the United Kingdom. If the withdrawal agreement is rejected, there might not even be a new trade deal between the UK and the EU, or at least not for many years. It is no exaggeration to say that we are essentially not much further than that historic sunny morning of June 2016 and that on 19 October a Parliament also said that a political agreement had been reached. The statement is a much shorter document that looks at what the relationship between the UK and the EU will look like after the UK leaves.
The United Kingdom and the European Union reached an agreement at the European Council on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union. The revised Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration were discussed and approved at the European Council on 17 October 2019. The declaration commits both parties to draw up a plan for the border on the island of Ireland so that there are no customs offices or obstacles. The United Kingdom will withdraw from the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). But a future agreement will include a far-reaching cooperation agreement. Immediately after the announcement of a revised withdrawal agreement on 17 October 2019, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the DUP declared that they could not support the new agreement.