'NONSENSICAL' plans to leave the European Union without a deal could put Oxford's car industry at risk, according to a Government minister.

Richard Harrington, the Secretary of State for Industry and Energy, took to the airwaves yesterday to warn the Mini plant could close if Brexit goes ahead without a withdrawal agreement in place.

Owners BMW did not comment on the minister's comments but has said it is continuing to prepare for what it sees as the 'worst case scenario' of a no-deal Brexit.

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Mr Harrington told the Today programme: “I’m not afraid of no drugs etc but I’m afraid of Jaguar closing, Mini closing, the life sciences industry closing and all the other things because we have no agreement that represents the way these businesses are integrated today. It is an irresponsibility and we’ve got to stop it."

The Conservative politician, who visited Culham Science Park last year to announce Government investment in driverless cars, said 'friction' would be created, given the number of lorries carrying parts in and out of factories.

He added: "We can’t suddenly say ‘it is WTO’ [World Trade Organisation rules], we don’t have an agreement with regulations.

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“Meanwhile there will be no law that says a Mini made in Oxford can even be sold in France or Germany and everything else. This is nonsense.”

It comes as a group of remain-backing MPs intend to introduce a bill that would delay the UK's planned departure date of March 29 to prevent a no deal.

Both Oxford MPs have previously urged the Government to 'take no deal off the table'.

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A BMW Group spokesman said MPs' rejection of Theresa May's Brexit agreement last week has created 'ever great uncertainty' about the state of future trade relations.

He added: "As a responsible employer, we must therefore continue to prepare for the worst-case scenario, which is what a no-deal Brexit would represent.

"We strongly urge all relevant stakeholders to do everything possible in order to establish much needed certainty for our business and to maintain the truly frictionless trade on which our international production network is based."