Following the DUP`s objections, Mrs May agreed on a backstop in which the whole of the UK would indefinitely maintain a very close relationship with the EU, namely the maintenance of the customs union. If the UK were to leave the EU without “any agreement” (if the draft withdrawal agreement is not approved by Parliament), Northern Ireland (under the UK) would have different customs and regulatory standards than Ireland (under the EU). This means that customs controls on goods must be imported at the border, which could create a “hard border” with physical infrastructure such as cameras or guard posts. This would undermine the principle of North-South cooperation as defined in the Good Friday Agreement. Faced with a simple backstop NI, which was primarily an EU proposal, the turnaround would be very welcome, although attempts to veto the continuation of the Northern Ireland Assembly would not be acceptable. Reality check: what do the Brexit backstop proposals mean? The Irish border has been described as a “backstop” by both the UK and the EU because of its importance to the peace process in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was a key element of this peace process. One of the three main points of the agreement was the creation of infrastructure for “North-South cooperation” between the Irish government and the new Northern Ireland Assembly. In the following months, the British Parliament refused three times to ratify the agreement. In July 2019, Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the Conservative Party. On 28 August 2019, the Johnson government refused to negotiate with Brussels unless the backstop was interrupted, which the EU did not say.  According to the Attorney General (the government`s supreme legal adviser), this instrument reduced the likelihood that the UK would be kept in the backstop against its will if the EU blocked negotiations on future relationship agreements in bad faith.
On 17 October 2019, it was announced that UK and EU negotiators had reached a “new” or “revised” agreement on the Irish border, which put an end to The Irish backstop proposal. You can read the new rules for Northern Ireland here. In an earlier version of the piece, which was incorrectly stated, critics of the Irish backstop are concerned that “this will lead to other rules for Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the EU”, which should have been “the rest of the UK”. The UK government is planning for Brexit for the UK to leave the internal market and customs union and demand the return of a series of controls on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The “backstop” as a substitute must ensure that such controls are not mandatory between the end of the silent transitional period proposed by the withdrawal agreement and the beginning of a promising future economic relationship. Boris Johnson was prevented from holding parliamentary elections on 31 October or withdrawing the country from the EU without a deal. But the Prime Minister also said he would rather “die in a ditch” than ask the EU to extend the UK`s membership. Logic would propose that its only option now be to agree on an optimised agreement with the EU and reintroduce it to Parliament in October.