BBC apologises after Andrew Marr accuses Priti Patel of laughing

George Martin
Priti Patel was accused of laughing during the interview with Andrew Marr. (BBC)
Priti Patel was accused of laughing during the interview with Andrew Marr. (BBC)

The BBC has apologised after Andrew Marr accused Priti Patel of laughing during an interview earlier this month.

Mr Marr had been asking the Home Secretary about the impact of Brexit on Britain’s industrial sector when he stopped and said: “I can’t see why you are laughing.”

But the BBC said on Monday that although Mr Marr initially believd Ms Patel was smirking, he had realised since the incident it was actually her “natural expression” and wasn’t “indicating amusement”.

The corporation reportedly received hundreds of complaints about Mr Marr’s comment.

Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester, Britain October 1, 2019.  REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Priti Patel was being quizzed on the impact of Brexit on Britain's industrial sector. (Reuters)

A spokesperson for the BBC told the Press Gazette: “Guests who appear on the Andrew Marr Show expect robust interviewing that includes back and forth between themselves and Mr Marr.

“Andrew Marr commented on Priti Patel laughing after he glanced up while reading a list of business leaders concerned about the impact of Brexit on their industries.


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“He thought he saw the Home Secretary smile but now accepts this was in fact her natural expression and wasn’t indicating amusement at his line of questioning.

“There was no intention to cause offence and we are sorry if viewers felt this to be the case.”

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Mr Marr had been halfway through reading out a list of industry groups that have raised concerns in a letter to the Government about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Patel, who was being interviewed over video link rather than in the studio, and appeared to be ‘smirking’ as Mr Marr spoke of the industry representatives’ concerns.

The Home Secretary did not respond to the comment during the interview.

Mr Marr’s comment came as Ms Patel had been defending the Government’s negotiating position with the EU.

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