On 2 October, Johnson presented a potential substitute for the Irish backstop 2018 and proposed that Northern Ireland remain aligned with the EU in terms of product standards, while remaining in the UK`s customs territory. This would require product controls between Britain and Northern Ireland, but no customs controls on goods that should remain in the UK. With regard to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, its proposal would involve customs controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic (possibly supported by technologies implemented far from the border), but would not include product controls and safety standards on the island of Ireland.  This was rejected by the EU.  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. This piece has been updated to cover the latest political developments around the backstop. 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 abandoned, which the EU did not say.  The EU and the United Kingdom 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. During the withdrawal negotiations, the Irish border issue was one of three areas that required a specific stream of negotiations to reach the necessary withdrawal agreement before future relations between the UK and the EU could be agreed.    The Irish and British governments as well as EU officials have stated that they do not want a hard border in Ireland, given the historical and social „sensitivities“ that cross the island.  Since about 2005, the border has been considered invisible, with little or no physical infrastructure, as security barriers and checkpoints have been eliminated as a result of processes introduced by the Good Friday Agreement (or „Belfast Agreement“), signed in 1998.    This agreement has the status of both an international treaty between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (the Anglo-Irish Agreement) and an agreement between the parties in Northern Ireland (multi-party agreement). On 10 October 2019, Mr Johnson and Leo Varadkar held „very positive and promising“ talks that led to the resumption of negotiations and a week later Mr Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker announced that they had agreed (subject to ratification) on a new withdrawal agreement replacing the backstop with a new protocol on Northern Ireland.2  In order to avoid a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Article 6 of the Northern Ireland Protocol proposes that the United Kingdom and EU customs officers operate from the end of the transition period (December 31, 2020) until the parties agree on a satisfactory alternative for both parties.  The single customs territory between the UK and the EU does not apply to fish products: for example, fish transported from Britain to Northern Ireland would be subject to EU tariffs in the absence of a separate fishing agreement.  In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, Johnson said that the backstop – an insurance policy to keep the Irish border open after the UK`s exit from the European Union – was „undemocratic“ and called for its withdrawal from the divorce agreement that ended.