On the European Union side, the European Parliament also approved the ratification of the agreement on 29 January 2020 and the Council of the European Union approved the conclusion of the agreement by e-mail on 30 January 2020.  That is why, on 30 January 2020, the European Union also tabled its instrument for ratification of the agreement, concluding the agreement and allowing it to enter into force on the date of the UK`s withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020, at 11 .m GMT. The agreement covers issues such as money, citizens` rights, border agreements and dispute resolution. It also includes a transition period and an overview of the future relationship between the UK and the EU. It was published on 14 November 2018 and was the result of the Brexit negotiations. The agreement was approved by the heads of state and government of the other 27 EU countries and by the British government led by Prime Minister Theresa May, but it faced opposition from the British Parliament, which needed approval for ratification. The approval of the European Parliament would also have been necessary. On January 15, 2019, the House of Commons rejected the withdrawal agreement by 432 votes to 202.  The House of Commons again rejected the agreement by 391 votes to 242 on 12 March 2019 and rejected it a third time, on 29 March 2019, by 344 votes to 286. On 22 October 2019, the revised withdrawal agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson`s government approved the first phase in Parliament, but Johnson halted the legislative process when the accelerated approval programme failed to receive the necessary support and announced his intention to declare a general election.  On 23 January 2020, Parliament ratified the agreement by adopting the withdrawal agreement; On 29 January 2020, the European Parliament approved the withdrawal agreement. It was then concluded by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020. 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.