On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the “backstop”) which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party 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 needed.  The Brexit withdrawal agreement, officially titled the Uk`s withdrawal agreement from great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, is a treaty signed on 24 January 2020 between the European Union (EU), Euratom and the United Kingdom (Uk) which sets the conditions for the UK`s withdrawal from the EU and Euratom. The text of the treaty was published on 17 October 2019 and is a renegotiated version of an agreement published six months earlier. The previous version of the withdrawal agreement was rejected three times by the House of Commons, leading Queen Elizabeth II to accept Theresa May`s resignation as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and appoint Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister on 24 July 2019. The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the Irish Backstop, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union. The protocol provided for a provision of the safety net to deal with the circumstances in which satisfactory alternative arrangements were to come into force at the end of the transition period. This project has been replaced by a new protocol that will be described as follows. The new political declaration sets out the framework for future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom and reflects the Government`s desire to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive, deep and flexible partnership on trade and economic cooperation with the EU, with a free trade agreement with the EU, in addition to security agreements and other areas of cooperation. On 6 September 2020, the Financial Times reported that the UK government was considering drafting new laws to circumvent the protocol of the Northern Ireland Withdrawal Agreement.  The new law would give ministers the power to determine which state aid should be notified to the EU and to define which products at risk of being transferred from Northern Ireland to Ireland (the withdrawal agreement stipulates that in the absence of a reciprocal agreement, all products are considered vulnerable).
 The government defended this approach and stated that the legislation was in accordance with protocol and that it had only “clarified” the volumity in the protocol.  Ursula von der Leyen warned Johnson not to violate international law and said that the implementation of the withdrawal agreement by Britain was a “precondition for any future partnership”.  On 8 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, told the British Parliament that the government`s internal market bill would “violate international law”.”  Immediately after the announcement of a revised withdrawal agreement on October 17, 2019, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the DUP declared that they could not support the new agreement.  On 19 October, a statement was also made to Parliament that a political agreement had been reached.