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Chris Grayling says criticism is because he’s ‘lightning rod for anti-Brexit brigade’ | Politics News

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling believes he is the subject of personal criticism because he is “a lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade”.

The cabinet minister, who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU, has recently come under fire for timetable chaos on railways, as well as IT failures in courts.

Prior to overseeing the country’s transport network, Mr Grayling was in charge of the courts system as justice secretary and Lord Chancellor.

His previous role also saw him condemned for a range of policies, such as overhauling legal aid and banning prisoners from receiving books.







PM’s deal not ‘perfect’, Grayling admits

But, speaking to The House magazine, Mr Grayling dismissed the criticism he has received during his ministerial career.

He said: “There are people like the RMT union who have been trying to get me to resign for the last nine months.

“This is a trade union that regards Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party as too right-wing to affiliate to and wants to stand in the way of modernisation of the railways.

“The railways need to modernise. So, inevitably, from an organised left-wing trade union, you’re going to get some missiles fired. But I’m going to do what I think is right.

“I’ve also made some big calls – like the expansion of Heathrow, the right thing to for the country but politically difficult and unpopular with some vested interests.

“And that’s similar with some people who want to have a go because I’m pro-Brexit.

“A lot of people out there want to frustrate the democratic will of the British people who voted to leave the EU and, because I’m a prominent Brexiteer in the cabinet who backs the prime minister’s deal, I’m a lightning rod for the anti-Brexit brigade.”

As the UK’s exit from the EU nears on 29 March, Mr Grayling stressed there is “a comprehensive plan not to cope with congestion in Kent”, should a no-deal Brexit lead to gridlock at ports such as Dover due to extra customs checks.

“I do not expect Kent to run to a halt, even if there are lorry jams, there are now places for those lorries to go,” he said.

“There is no reason for anybody in Kent to think that no-deal Brexit is going to bring the county to a grinding halt.”

As part of the Department for Transport’s contingency planning for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement, Mr Grayling also defended handing a £14m contract to a ferry company that currently has no ferries.

Seaborne Freight, which is being employed to run extra services if there is a no-deal Brexit, also recently faced claims it copied its terms and conditions from a takeaway delivery website.

Claiming there is “no financial risk” to taxpayers from the contract, Mr Grayling said: “I’m interested in doing the right thing. I’m not interested in playing for press coverage.”

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