Britain told the European Union on Tuesday there was no reason for its negative reaction to London’s plan to override some post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, after Brussels threatened legal action.

Britain published legislation on Monday which would scrap checks and challenge the role played by the European Union’s court in the region. It says its plan is legal, but Brussels believes any unilateral change may breach international law.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic warned that the EU would consider launching new infringement procedures against Britain. It could also fine Britain and ultimately review the terms of their free trade agreement.

Asked why the government was risking a trade war in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Times Radio: “Our solution doesn’t make the EU any worse off. We continue to protect the single market.

“So there is absolutely no reason why the EU should react in a negative way to what we are doing. I’ve been very clear my preference is for a negotiated solution but in the absence of that we simply cannot allow the situation to drift.