Britain's moves on Northern Irish protocol lawful and right, PM Johnson says

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Britain's PM Johnson holds a virtual news conference in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's decision to suspend parts of the Northern Irish Brexit protocol was lawful and right, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday, adding it was necessary build confidence in the arrangement.

The European Union has promised legal action after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports from mainlaind Britain to Northern Ireland, a move that Brussels said breached the terms of London's EU divorce deal.

"What we're doing is taking some lawful, some technical measures to build up confidence in the east-west operation (of the protocol)," Johnson said on a visit to Northern Ireland.

"We think it's lawful, and indeed, we think it's right, in view of the impact on the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, and the need to have consent from both communities."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Michael Holden)