The withdrawal agreement provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which time the UK will remain in the internal market, to ensure the smooth flow of trade until a long-term relationship is concluded. If no agreement is reached by then, the UK will leave the single market without a trade deal on 1 January 2021. The withdrawal agreement is closely linked to a non-binding political declaration on future relations between the EU and the UK. This is the third time the British Parliament has rejected the agreement. Britain has until 12 April 2019 to decide what to do next: But Sir John Redwood, the conservative Brexit leader, tweeted: "A long and complex legal agreement that locks the UK in many parts of the EU that is hindering us is not the Christmas present Britain needs." The EU-27 (with the exception of the UK) notes that sufficient progress has been made in Phase 1. This means that phase 2 of the negotiations can begin. In Phase 2, the EU and the UK continue to negotiate the withdrawal agreement. But they are also beginning to discuss a transition period and explore their future relationship. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 at midnight (23:00 GMT). A transitional period is now in effect until 31 December 2020. During this period, all EU laws and regulations continue to apply in the UK. For businesses and the public, virtually nothing will change. This will give everyone more time to prepare for the new agreements that the EU and the UK intend to conclude after 31 December 2020.
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. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wins the British general election. It is therefore likely that the Brexit deal will soon be adopted. If the British Parliament approves the agreement, the European Parliament can vote on it in January. The 599-page withdrawal agreement covers the following main areas: Following the discussions, the EU issued a strong statement warning that the withdrawal agreement was a legal obligation and added that "neither the EU nor the UK can modify, clarify, modify, interpret, implement it unilaterally."