Johnson cabinet minister and Brexit talks chief Michael Gove announced Tuesday that an "agreement in principle" had been reached with the European Union "on all issues, in particular with regard to the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland" following Withdrawal Agreement talks.
European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic confirmed that the agreement which had been reached in talks held Monday would enable the agreement, including its Northern Ireland Protocol, to be up and running January 1.
The UK and the EU also agreed to address "practical arrangements regarding the EU's presence in Northern Ireland when UK authorities implement checks and controls under the Protocol" related to checks and controls related to the movement of goods, agricultural and fishing subsidies exempsions, and the drawing up of a list of people to head the arbitration panel for a dispute settlement mechanism expected to start operations in 2021.
On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a 90 minute telephone conversation with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, after which she indicated that conditions for an agreement were "not there due to remaining differences on critical issues." Johnson is expected to fly to Brussels later this week for further talks.
After assuming office in July 2019, Boris Johnson made getting the UK out of the EU and reaching a Brexit deal with Brussels his top priorities. The UK's 2016 referendum on EU membership brought down his two Tory predecessors and thrust the nation into years of political turmoil as Britons, opposition leaders and some Conservatives engaged in intense debate about whether or not to move forward with plans to leave the bloc.