Sunak pitches new Brexit vision to Northern Ireland and his lawmakers



British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Northern Ireland and then met with his own lawmakers on Tuesday to sell his new deal with the European Union to ease post-Brexit trade, a measure he hopes will finally break the political deadlock in the province.

Sunak is trying to secure the backing of all sides in Northern Ireland and eurosceptic lawmakers so he can reset relations with the EU - and the United States - without angering politicians in his own party and in Belfast who are most wedded to Britain's 2020 departure from the EU.

The success of the deal is likely to hinge on whether it convinces the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to end its boycott of Northern Ireland's power-sharing arrangements. These were central to the 1998 peace deal which mostly ended three decades of sectarian and political violence in Northern Ireland.

Sunak said he wanted to explain the details to the different communities in Northern Ireland, and accepts that will take time. "I'm also very keen, we've not been shy about saying, that the people of Northern Ireland need and deserve their government," he told reporters.

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said his first reading of the deal suggested it would give the Stormont regional assembly the power to reject EU rules it did not want, providing some reassurance on their key concern of sovereignty.

But he said the party is likely to take time before it comes to a conclusion, while members of the European Research Group, which brings together hardline pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers, will work with lawyers to examine the details before giving a verdict in a process that could take two weeks.

Sunak later told a meeting of his lawmakers in parliament that the public are fed up with the constant disputes over Brexit and said they should back his deal or risk losing the trust of voters, according to lawmakers who attended.

The prime minister said the DUP deserved "time and space" to consider their response.