The British Parliament has passed Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s Brexit Act, which allows the UK to leave the EU. The vote ends years of battle for the initial conditions of the British exit. The reception of the agreement in the House of Commons ranged from cold to hostile, and the vote was delayed by more than a month. Prime Minister May has received a motion of no confidence within her own party, but the EU has refused to accept further changes. Lawmakers last year rejected repeated efforts by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May to secure support for their Brexit deal. However, Johnson`s comfortable 80-seat majority in December`s general election meant there was never any doubt that the law would be passed this time. 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 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 This project has been replaced by a new protocol that will be described as follows. On 15 January 2019, the House of Commons voted with 230 votes against the Brexit withdrawal agreement the largest vote against the British government in history.  The government may survived a vote of confidence the next day.  On March 12, 2019, the House of Commons voted 149 votes against the agreement, the fourth-biggest defeat of the government in the history of the House of Commons.  A third vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement, widely expected on 19 March 2019, was rejected by the House of Commons spokesman on 18 March 2019, on the basis of a parliamentary convention of 2 April 1604, which prevented British governments from forcing the House of Commons to vote several times on a subject already voted on by the House of Commons.    An abbreviated version of the withdrawal agreement, in which the annex political statement had been withdrawn, consisted of the test of « substantial amendments, » so that a third vote was held on 29 March 2019, but was rejected by 58 votes.  Parliamentary votes on Brexit, sometimes referred to as « smart votes, » are parliamentary votes under Section 13 of the United Kingdom`s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which requires the UK government to submit a amendeable parliamentary motion to ratify the Brexit withdrawal agreement at the end of negotiations between the government and the European Union Article 50.
  After the second defeat of May`s divorce agreement, the European Council met on 21 March in Brussels to decide what to do next. EU leaders have given May two options: postpone Brexit until 22 May if MPs vote in favour of the withdrawal deal, or postpone it until 12 April if they vote against the deal. If the deal fails again in Parliament, May could ask for a lengthy extension. Immediately after the announcement of a revised withdrawal agreement on October 17, 2019, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the DUP said they could not support the new agreement.  If the UK does not apply for an extension beyond 2020, trade relations will be governed by any agreement or World Trade Organization rules from the beginning of 2021.