The withdrawal agreement also contains provisions for the United Kingdom to leave the Convention setting the status of European schools, with the United Kingdom bound by the Convention and accompanying regulations on accredited European schools until the end of the last academic year of the transition period, i.e. at the end of the spring semester 2020-2021.  While the previous “backstop” kept the UK in a customs union with the EU, the new AV sees that the whole of the UK (including Northern Ireland) is leaving the EU customs union. From a legal point of view, Northern Ireland remains a part of the British customs territory. Northern Ireland will be included in the UK`s free trade agreements. However, in this scenario, trade in goods between the rest of the UK and the EU would be much steeper. In addition, there would be new trade barriers for goods relocated from Britain to Northern Ireland. Indeed, in the absence of trade agreements, the United Kingdom would return to “WTO” trade terms with the EU, since this protocol does not provide substantial rules for trade in goods between the EU and the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. The previous “backstop” did so and this “backstop” could not be removed without the agreement of the EU and the United Kingdom.
On 22 October 2019, the House of Commons agreed, 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 it had proposed did not receive the necessary parliamentary support, Johnson announced that the law would be overturned.   The signatures mark a new stage in the ratification process after Parliament passed the Brexit Act earlier this week. The European Parliament will vote on the agreement on 29 January. 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 agreement also provides for a transitional period that extends until 31 December 2020 and can be extended by mutual agreement.
During the transitional period, EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK (including participation in the European Economic Area, the internal 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.