This report analyses the revised UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, and the accompanying Political Declaration setting out the framework for future UK-EU relations, which were presented to Parliament on 19 October 2019. We have published this report at the first possible opportunity, in order to inform debate on the Withdrawal Agreement, and consideration by the House of Lords of the legislation that will implement the Agreement—the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which was published on 19 December 2019 and which is expected to complete its House of Commons stages at the end of the week beginning 6 January 2020.
This report updates our earlier report, published in December 2018, on the previous texts of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration. In some places, where the relevant text is unchanged, we have referred back to that report rather than reproducing our analysis in full.
We outline, in turn, the withdrawal provisions, the transition provisions, the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the Political Declaration on future relations. We identify areas where further information is needed, and we put questions to the Government. While our primary focus is the Withdrawal Agreement itself, rather than its implementation in domestic law, we refer in various places to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. We have also included in an annex the letter we sent to the Leader of the House, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, on 4 November 2019, in which we commented on the Bill in the form in which it was then before Parliament.
We have sought to provide dispassionate analysis, to assist parliamentary and public debate—as we have done in the other 44 Brexit-related reports we have published since the 2016 referendum, all of which have been agreed by consensus.