The agreement covers issues such as money, civil rights, border regulation and dispute settlement. It also includes a transition period and an overview of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It was published on 14 November 2018 and was the result of the Brexit negotiations. The agreement was approved by the heads of state and government of the remaining 27 EU countries and the British government of Prime Minister Theresa May, but met with resistance in the British Parliament, whose approval was required for ratification. The consent of the European Parliament would also have been required. On 15 January 2019, the House of Commons rejected the Withdrawal Agreement by 432 votes to 202.  The House of Commons again rejected the agreement on March 12, 2019 by 391 votes to 242 and rejected it a third time on March 29, 2019 by 344 votes to 286. On the 22nd. In October 2019, the revised withdrawal agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson`s government completed the first phase in Parliament, but Johnson halted the legislative process when the accelerated approval programme failed to find the necessary support and announced his intention to call a general election.  On 23 January 2020, Parliament ratified the agreement by adopting the Withdrawal Agreement Act; On 29 January 2020, the European Parliament approved the Withdrawal Agreement.
It was then closed by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020. The agreement also provides for a transitional period, which lasts until 31 December 2020 and can be extended once by mutual agreement. During the transition period, EU law will continue to apply to the UK (including participation in the European Economic Area, the Single Market and the Customs Union) and the UK will continue to contribute to the EU budget, but the UK will not be represented in EU decision-making bodies. The transition period will give businesses time to adjust to the new situation and give THE UK and EU governments time to negotiate a new EU-UK trade deal.   The UK Parliament passes a law obliging the UK government to request a delay to Brexit if no deal is reached with the EU by 19 October 2019. This ensures that the UK will remain in compliance with EU agreements on climate, environment and workers` rights in a future trade agreement. The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the “Irish backstop”, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement that outlined provisions to prevent a hard border in Ireland following the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union. The Protocol included a provision for 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. If the next steps in Westminster go ahead as planned, the European Parliament is expected to ratify the withdrawal agreement on January 29, paving the way for Britain`s exit from the bloc two days later.
The UK`s October 2019 Withdrawal Agreement (846 KB, PDF) The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration by replacing the word “adequate” with “appropriate” in relation to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, Trade Fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the change excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the level playing field mechanism has been moved from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration and the line in the Political Declaration that “the UK will consider aligning itself with EU rules in relevant areas” has been deleted.  The UK government and the remaining 27 EU member states approve the draft agreement. 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. In this case, 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.  Nevertheless, the EU and the UK are committed to concluding a future trade agreement and the transition period can be extended for up to two more years (if extended by two years, it would end in December 2022). When Boris Johnson became prime minister in July 2019, he said there would be no further delay on Brexit and that the UK would leave on October 31. He would prefer to leave with a deal, but only if it were done on the basis of a renegotiated VA to amend the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, also known as the “backstop”, which the Prime Minister said was to be abolished. The UK Parliament decides that a further extension of the Brexit date is necessary as it wants to first review the relevant legislation before voting on the Withdrawal Agreement.
The British government then called on the EU to postpone the Brexit date to 31 January 2020. On the 22nd. In October 2019, the House of Commons voted by 329 votes to 299 to give a second reading to the revised withdrawal agreement (negotiated by Boris Johnson earlier this month), but when the accelerated timetable he proposed did not receive the necessary parliamentary support, Johnson announced that the legislation would be suspended.   The provisions on a level playing field concerned taxation, environmental protection, labour standards, State aid and competition. These have now been replaced by less specific and non-binding commitments in the Political Declaration to respect these principles in any future EU-UK trade agreement. In this scenario, however, there would be a much steeper cliff edge for merchandise trade between the rest of the UK and the EU. There would also be new barriers to trade for goods transported from Britain to Northern Ireland. Without a trade agreement, the UK would revert to the WTO`s trade terms with the EU, as this protocol does not contain any essential rules for trade in goods between the EU and the UK, with the exception of Northern Ireland. The previous “backstop” did so, and this “backstop” could not be left without the consent of the EU and the UK. The United Kingdom triggers Article 50. This means that negotiations on the UK`s withdrawal from the EU can begin.
The EU and the UK have two years to reach an agreement. The EU and the UK reach a provisional agreement. It covers a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which all EU rules will continue to apply. It also includes the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. While the previous “backstop” kept the UK in a customs union with the EU, the new withdrawal agreement provides for the whole of the UK (including Northern Ireland) to leave the EU`s customs union. Legally, Northern Ireland remains part of the British customs territory. Northern Ireland will be included in the UK`s free trade agreements. The Declaration on the Future Relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, also known as the Political Declaration, is a non-binding declaration negotiated and signed in conjunction with the binding and broader Withdrawal Agreement in the context of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU), colloquially known as Brexit, and the planned end of the transition period.