LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is "completely serious" about passing legislation on Northern Ireland that will change the way the Brexit deal agreed with the European Union is applied, foreign minister Liz Truss said on Monday.
"We're completely serious about this legislation," she told reporters when asked if the plan was just a negotiating tactic.
"It does fix the problems in the Northern Ireland protocol. It also protects the EU single market so the EU are no worse off as a result of this legislation," she said in a video statement that coincided with the publication of legislation.
She said Britain remained open to negotiations with the European Union and that the government was acting within international law. The government will publish an additional legal statement later on Monday.
Asked about comments from Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin, who earlier warned that a unilateral breach of the Brexit deal would be very serious, Truss said:
"I would strongly encourage the Irish Taoiseach to ... discuss this with the EU to get a change in the mandate and then we can go to the negotiating table."
She said she had been in regular contact with lawmakers in the United States on the matter, and that the U.S. administration wanted to see it resolved and the Belfast peace agreement "restored".
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Kate Holton)