Boris Johnson’s new proposal involves removing the backstop. That’s the measure from the original withdrawal agreement aimed at preventing any possibility of border posts and checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
The deal negotiated by former prime minister
Theresa May and her government was defeated in the House of Commons several times. Mr Johnson’s new idea is that Northern Ireland continues to follow EU rules and standards on all goods. That would remove the need for regulatory checks on goods crossing the Irish border.
However, Northern Ireland would stay in the customs territory of the UK. So there would be a customs border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. But the government’s plan is that all customs checks could be made away from the border.
If a deal is reached then attention will turn to the House of Commons to see if Mr Johnson can win the backing of MPs.
If the UK and EU can’t agree a deal then under the so-called Benn Act the prime minister is obliged to request an extension of Article 50, delaying Brexit.