The Council should proceed to the vote by written procedure, with the members of the Council declaring their willingness to vote in writing. During the transition, Prime Minister Boris Johnson`s government will try to negotiate an ambitious free trade agreement – unprecedented in time – with its 27 former partners who remain in the bloc. The UK government and the other 27 EU member states approve the draft agreement. The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the “Irish backstop”, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the United Kingdom`s withdrawal from the European Union. The Protocol contained a safety net provision to deal with circumstances in which satisfactory alternative arrangements have yet to enter into force at the end of the transitional period.