On 22 October 2019, the House of Commons agreed by 329 votes to 299 to grant the revised Withdrawal Agreement (negotiated by Boris Johnson earlier this month) at second reading, but when the accelerated timetable it proposed did not receive the necessary parliamentary support, Johnson announced that the legislation would be on hold.   This triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which sets out the procedure for a Member State`s exit from the Union, and launched a two-year countdown to withdrawal. This is the third time that the British Parliament has rejected the agreement. The UK has until 12 April 2019 to decide on the way forward: although the UK officially left the EU in January, it has committed to a transition period – that of the 31st Negotiations for a long-term trade deal are continuing. With regard to the Irish border issue, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the « backstop ») which is annexed to the agreement and defines a return case position that will only enter into force in the absence of evidence of other effective arrangements before the end of the transitional period. If this is the case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s external common law and Northern Ireland will remain in the internal market aspects until such a manifestation 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 agreement covers issues such as money, citizens` rights, border settlement and dispute settlement. It also contains 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 by the British government led by Prime Minister Theresa May, but it met with opposition from the British Parliament, whose approval was required for ratification. The consent of the European Parliament would also have been necessary. On 15 January 2019, the House of Commons rejected the Withdrawal Agreement by 432 votes to 202.  On March 12, 2019, the House of Commons again rejected the agreement by 391 votes to 242, and rejected a third time on March 29, 2019 by 344 votes to 286. On 22 October 10, 2019, the revised withdrawal agreement negotiated by the Boris Johnson government opened the first stage in Parliament, but Johnson suspended the legislative process when the accelerated authorisation programme did not receive the necessary support and announced his intention to proclaim a general election.  On 23 January 2020, Parliament ratified the agreement by adopting the Withdrawal Agreement. 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. After an unprecedented vote on 4 December 2018, MPs decided that the UK government was not respecting Parliament because it refused to give Parliament the full legal advice it had received on the impact of its proposed withdrawal conditions.  The central point of the opinion concerned the legal effect of the Backstop Agreement on Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom with regard to the customs border between the European Union and the United Kingdom and its impact on the Good Friday Agreement that led to the end of the unrest in Northern Ireland, and in particular on the security of the United Kingdom, to be able to leave the EU in practice, in accordance with the draft proposals. The other 27 EU member states are ready to allow the UK to postpone its withdrawal (the UK was due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019). If the UK Parliament approves the withdrawal agreement by 29 March at the latest, Brexit will be postponed until 22 May in order to have time to pass the necessary laws.
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