Brexit explainer: What is in the withdrawal agreement?

EU and UK negotiators reach a new Brexit agreement that would avoid a hard border

Leaders of the European Union lined out alongside Leo Varadkar for the Brexit agreement press conference in Brussels. Video: European Council

So what the hell has happened now with Brexit?

EU and UK negotiators have agreed a final deal in Brussels that would allow the UK to leave the EU – possibly by the October 31st deadline, if ratified – more than three years after the UK voted to leave the EU. The deal would avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, a condition set by both sides in December 2017.

Wait, was there not a Brexit deal agreed before?

Yes, but the so-called backstop to avoid a hard border in the original Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by the House of Commons three times, ultimately forcing British prime minister Theresa May out of office. This left it to her successor Boris Johnson to try another route.

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