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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Chris Grayling: Brussels will be to blame if there is a no-deal Brexit

2 min read

Brussels will be to blame if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, Chris Grayling has declared.

The Transport Secretary insisted the UK government had done all it could to strike an agreement, and it would be down to EU intransigence if time runs out.

His comments came as Theresa May prepares to travel to Brussels at the end of this week with fresh proposals on how to break the impasse over the Irish backstop.

MPs rejected the Prime Minister's initial Brexit deal by 230 votes last month, prompting her to seek major changes to the withdrawal agreement in a bid to secure parliamentary backing.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Grayling said: "We have taken to our Parliament the deal reached in November and our Parliament has said no.

"We want to work with the EU to reach a deal but if they are not prepared to do that – they will have to take responsibility that we are heading towards a no-deal exit.

"If they are not willing to compromise, if they’re not willing to work with us to find common ground – it will be down to them if there is no deal."

Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Grayling - who campaigned for Vote Leave during the EU referendum - also insisted that Nissan's decision not to build its new X-Trail model at its plant in Sunderland was more to do with the collapse in the market for diesel vehicles, rather than Brexit.

He said: "Obviously I’m very disappointed by Nissan’s decision. But it’s clear that this has much more to do with the diesel car market than Brexit. Their statement of continuing commitment to the UK, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, is welcome."

His remarks appeared to put him at odds with Business Secretary Greg Clark, who said Nissan's decision was a warning sign about the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

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