LONDON - Britain is disappointed that there was not more recognition from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on how the Northern Ireland protocol is affecting the British province, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

Earlier, von der Leyen said the European Union's tensions with Britain were not due to problems with the Northern Ireland protocol agreed by both sides, but Brexit itself. 

"It is disappointing that there was not more recognition from the Commission president of the impact the current operation of the protocol is having in Northern Ireland," he told reporters.

He said while the European Union "prioritised protection of the single market ... Our focus remains on protecting the Belfast agreement, the Good Friday agreement, in all its dimensions."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Paul Sandle) ((; 07979746994; Reuters Messaging: