The government rejected the Lords` proposal, which would give the House of Commons the power to decide the next steps for the government if the withdrawal agreement was rejected by Parliament.  The transitional period, which will start on 1 February, will end in December 2020. Any agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK must be fully concluded before that date, when it is due to enter into force on 1 January 2021. Following the signing of the Agreement, the Government of the United Kingdom issued and deposited the instrument of ratification of Great Britain on 29 January 2020.   The agreement was ratified by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020, after consent of the European Parliament on 29 January 2020. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union took place on 31 January 2020 at 11 p.m. GMT entered into force and, at that time, the Withdrawal Agreement entered into force in accordance with Article 185. The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration, replacing the word “appropriate” with “appropriate” in relation to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, a trade researcher at the Centre for European Reform, the change excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the level playing field mechanism has been moved from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration and the line in the Political Declaration that “the UK will consider aligning itself with EU legislation in relevant areas” has been deleted.  The Protocol on Northern Ireland, known as the “Irish Backstop”, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement that outlined provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union. .
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