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    An abbreviated version of the withdrawal agreement, in which the annex political statement had been withdrawn, consisted of the test of «substantial amendments,» so that a third vote was held on 29 March 2019, but was rejected by 58 votes.  The 599-page withdrawal agreement covers the following main areas: The UK submitted its withdrawal communication to the EU on 29 March 2017. This triggered a process of withdrawal within the meaning of Article 50 of the Treaty on european Union. Negotiations ended on October 17, 2019. The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on the withdrawal agreement with a revised protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (abolition of the «backstop») and a revised political declaration. On the same day, the European Council (Article 50) approved these texts.
The UK`s official withdrawal from the EU came into force on 31 January 2020 (withdrawal date) at 11pm. On that date, the withdrawal period under Article 50 of the TUE ended and the ratified withdrawal agreement, which sets out the legal conditions for the UK`s withdrawal, came into force. The ratified withdrawal agreement was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the day of the withdrawal, as well as the political statement on the framework of future relations between the UK and the EU: this means that the UK will remain virtually in the EU until the end of 2020. It will apply EU law, follow the European Court of Justice, but will not participate in the decision-making process. The transition period expires on December 31, 2020. The agreement defines the goods, services and processes associated with them. Any provision of goods or services legally put on the market before leaving the EU may be made available to consumers in the UK or in the EU Member States (Article 40-41). After the WAB becomes law, the withdrawal agreement must also be ratified by the European Parliament. 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.