The UK has launched the formal process of withdrawal negotiations by formally announcing the European Council`s intention to leave the EU. The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration and replaced the word „appropriate“ with „appropriate“ with respect to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, a trade fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the amendment excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the Equal Competition Mechanism has been postponed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement to the political declaration, and the line of the political statement that „the United Kingdom will consider taking into account alignment with trade union rules in the relevant areas“ has been removed.  The British Parliament approved the draft agreement by adopting 2020 implementing laws (The European Union Withdrawal Agreement (Withdrawal Agreement) 2020 Act. Following the signing of the agreement, the UK Government adopted and tabled the UK`s ratification instrument on 29 January 2020.  The agreement was ratified by the Council of the European Union on 30 January 2020, after approval by the European Parliament on 29 January 2020. The UK`s withdrawal from the EU came into force on 31 January 2020 at 11 .m GMT, when the withdrawal agreement came into force in accordance with Article 185. The withdrawal agreement provided for an extension of the transition period to avoid the „non-deal“ of Brexit if no agreement between the EU and the UK could be reached by 31 December 2020.
Such an extension should have been requested until July 2020. Following a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he would not use this option and that 11 months would be enough to reach a comprehensive agreement, the British government added a provision to the 2020 Law to prohibit a British minister who wants such an extension, and no extension was sought. On 6 September 2020, the Financial Times reported that the UK government was considering drafting new laws to circumvent the protocol of the Northern Ireland Withdrawal Agreement.  The new law would give ministers the power to determine which state aid should be notified to the EU and to define which products at risk of being transferred from Northern Ireland to Ireland (the withdrawal agreement stipulates that in the absence of a reciprocal agreement, all products are considered vulnerable).  The government defended this approach and stated that the legislation was in accordance with protocol and that it had only „clarified“ the volumity in the protocol.  Ursula von der Leyen warned Johnson not to violate international law and said that the implementation of the withdrawal agreement by Britain was a „precondition for any future partnership“.  On 8 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, told the British Parliament that the government`s internal market bill would „violate international law“.“  EU and UK negotiators have reached agreement on the draft withdrawal agreement allowing the European Council (Article 50) to adopt guidelines for the future EU-UK relationship on 23 March 2018.