Britain's Northern Ireland minister encouraged by reaction to new Brexit framework

Weekly government cabinet meeting, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Northern Ireland minister Chris Heaton-Harris on Thursday said he had been encouraged by the reaction to a new agreement on trade with the European Union, rebutting criticism by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

"I have been encouraged by the reaction to the Windsor Framework so far," Heaton-Harris said, after Johnson said he would struggle to back the deal and wished the government had stuck to his plan for a bill to override previous arrangements.

"We have never said this is the perfect solution, but it is a better option than the Protocol Bill, which kept automatic alignment with EU law for red lane trade at Northern Ireland ports and kept the full jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in international law."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by William James)