EU and UK negotiators reached an agreement on the draft Withdrawal Agreement that allows the European Council (Article 50) to adopt, on 23 March 2018, guidelines for the framework for the future relationship between the EU and the UK. According to Sam Lowe, a fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the amendment excludes labour standards from dispute settlement mechanisms.  In addition, the mechanism for a level playing field has been moved from the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement to the Political Declaration and the line in the Political Declaration that „the UK will consider aligning itself with EU legislation in relevant areas“ has been deleted.  The Withdrawal Agreement provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which the UK will remain in the internal market to ensure the fluidity of trade until a long-term relationship is agreed. In the absence of an agreement on that date, the UK will leave the internal market on 1 January 2021 without a trade agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement is closely linked to a non-binding political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. The receipt of the agreement in the House of Commons ranged from fresh to hostile and the vote was delayed by more than a month. Prime Minister May won a no-confidence motion against her own party, but the EU refused to accept further changes. With regard to the Irish border issue, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the „backstop“) which is annexed to the agreement and defines a return case position that will only enter into force in the absence of evidence of other effective arrangements before the end of the transitional period. If this is the case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s external common law and Northern Ireland will remain in the internal market aspects until such a manifestation is achieved. . .