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. The withdrawal agreement and the new “instrument” on the backstop were rejected by Parliament in March 2019. The withdrawal agreement was rejected a third time at the end of the month. On 29 March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May launched the two-year Brexit negotiation process with a deadline set for Article 50 of the EU Treaty.  In response to this, the other EU countries (EU-27) have published their “phased” negotiating strategy, which has postponed any negotiations on future relations with the UK (the non-binding “political declaration”) until a binding withdrawal agreement is reached: in July 2019, Theresa May resigned and Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, boris Johnson saying he wanted to replace the Irish backstop as part of the withdrawal agreement.  On 19 August, in a letter to the President of the European Council, the Prime Minister declared that the agreement was “undemocratic and incompatible with the sovereignty of the United Kingdom”.  He stressed that this was “not compatible with the UK`s desired end goal” for its relations with the EU. Its third reason for the unsurability of the backstop is that it “weakens” the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland. Tusk said opponents of the deal, without “realistic alternatives,” supported the re-establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland. That`s the reality, “even if they don`t admit it,” he added. “The backstop is an insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, unless an alternative is found,” Tusk tweeted.
 The Irish Government considered that “the real objective of the backstop was to maintain the status quo by guaranteeing freedom of movement and not a hard border on the island of Ireland; which is of paramount importance to the GFA. The reality is that Brexit is a threat to the GFA.  This protocol was strongly rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party, which saw it as a weakening of Northern Ireland`s place in the United Kingdom and was seen by a number of commentators as the main reason why the withdrawal agreement was not ratified by the United Kingdom Parliament.  Since 2018, the DUP has stated that the anti-Northern Ireland ruling must be withdrawn from the Brexit withdrawal agreement if it were to continue to support the Conservative government in the House of Commons although the party has stated that it is open to limiting backstops over time.  Paul Bew, a Crossbench peer, noted that the downward nature of the backstop reverses the ascendancy of the Good Friday Agreement, thus risking “the current deterioration of North-South relations increasing in unpredictable and dangerous ways.”  It is difficult to know where Johnson is winning a majority in Parliament.