2019 Review: Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement
As we approach the end of the year, we have collected a selection of the most influential political events of 2019. In this article, we focus on Boris Johnson announcing his new Withdrawal Agreement.
On October 17, Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s new Withdrawal Agreement after months of negotiating.
Announcing the new deal on Twitter, Johnson said: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control – now parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and the environment.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, the then European Commission president, also welcomed the new deal, stating: “Where there is a will there is a deal – we have one! It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions. I recommend the EUCO endorses this deal.”
While the majority of the new agreement was similar to May’s previous version, key differences were agreed, specifically concerning the Irish border and May’s proposed backstop.
Under Johnson’s deal, Northern Ireland will remain in the UK’s custom territory but will continue to adhere to EU rules surrounding tariffs and quotas to avoid a hard border being constructed on the island of Ireland.
In terms of the regulation of goods, Northern Ireland will remain aligned to EU rules. This means that while there will no need to check goods at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it will add checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
Moreover, Johnson agreed in principle to maintain the “level playing field” with the EU, meaning the UK will voluntarily agree to align itself with EU standards on the environment, tax and worker’s rights.