9 European Commissioner, Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, Technical Note on the Implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (30 April 2020): ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/brexit_files/info_site/20200430_note_protocol_ie_ni.pdf [called 19 May 2020] 15. We started immediately after its publication in October 2019 with the instruction of the revised protocol, notably by the then Secretary of State for the Exit of the European Union, Rt Hon. Stephen Barclay MP. Our work was halted during the dissolution of Parliament, but we published an initial analysis in our Brexit report of January 2020: the revised withdrawal agreement and the political declaration8. in Belfast, by Northern Ireland businesses and stakeholders (including a roundtable with the Northern Ireland Business Network) and after the eruption of COVID-19 at a distant meeting with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon. This report builds on all the evidence provided since October 2019 and we thank our witnesses for their support. The statement reaffirms that “the objective of the democratic approval process” of the protocol should be “to reach as broad an agreement as possible in Northern Ireland and, where possible, to achieve a process supported and supported by a Northern Ireland executive who has conducted a thorough public consultation process.” This should include “an inter-community consultation that would maintain the fragile balance of the 1998 agreement in order to reach, as far as possible, broad consensus in all communities.” 120.The Secretary of State for Leaving the EU, Rt Hon Stephen Barclay, In October 2019, he told us that the “infinite nature” of the protocol contained in the 2018 withdrawal agreement (the “backstop”) was the “central concern” of Parliament.117 Added to this was “the lack of approval and the democratic question.” He said it was “clear, not only by the DUP, but also by other leading voices in the Unionist community” that there were “concerns about the backstop as it was formed.” Joint report by EU and UK government negotiators on progress in the first phase of the EU Article 50 negotiations on the UK`s orderly withdrawal from the European Union (8 December 2018): assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/665869/Joint_report_on_progress_during_phase_1_of_negotiations_under_Article_50_TEU_on_the_United_Kingdom_s_orderly_withdrawal_from_the_European_Union.pdf [called the EU 19 May 2020] The new withdrawal agreement sets out the conditions for the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union, with amendments to the Northern Ireland Protocol to remove the so-called “backstop” and replace it with provisions in line with the government`s objectives. The new political declaration sets out the framework for future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom and reflects the Government`s commitment to an ambitious, comprehensive, comprehensive and flexible free trade agreement with the EU, accompanied by a comprehensive and balanced security partnership.