Priti Patel bizarrely accused of 'laughing' on BBC's Andrew Marr Show during discussion of businesses Brexit fears

Patrick Grafton-Green
Priti Patel was accused of laughing by Andrew Marr: BBC / The Andrew Marr Show

Andrew Marr accused Priti Patel of laughing on his BBC show today during a discussion of businesses Brexit fears.

Mr Marr clashed with the Home Secretary as he put forward concerns about the UK's hardline approach to leaving the EU.

He listed a number of industry bodies worried about what will happen when the country leaves the bloc, including representatives from the chemical, aerospace and food sectors.

He said: “A lot of people who are actually at the forefront of trying to make this country earn its place in the world sent a letter to the government which I will now read out part of to you.

“They said that this proposal is a serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness and will result in huge new costs and disruption to UK firms.”

Priti Patel was accused of laughing by Andrew Marr (BBC / The Andrew Marr Show)

Responding to the facial expression of Ms Patel, who was being interviewed via video link, he then added: “I can’t see why you’re laughing.”

However, the Home Secretary was not seen to be laughing during the exchange.

He went on: "It’s got the potential to risk consumer and food safety and confidence, access to overseas markets for UK exporters and vital future investment in innovation in this country, that is really big challenge to this plan.”

Ms Patel was criticised on social media for appearing to "smirk" during the serious discussion, however others defended her.

One person wrote: "Priti Patel smirking as Andrew Marr reads out warnings from manufacturers about the potential dire economic impact of a no-deal Brexit on their business."

However Tory MP Nadim Zahawi said: "She is neither smiling or laughing. I guess some people are so incensed at the thought of a [government] that is upholding the Democratic will of the people, they are willing to use any means necessary to demonise its ministers."

Ms Patel did not acknowledge the comment from Mr Marr, merely replying that the Government has been making preparations to mitigate any potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.

She said: "Well, this is why the Government has been working assiduously, with business as well I should say, across a range of sectors when it comes to planning for our exit from the European Union."

During the interview she also said security measures were being stepped up in preparedness for a possible no-deal Brexit but denied they were driven by fears of an upsurge in terrorism by dissident Irish republicans.

Priti Patel on Marr this morning

She acknowledged however they were "conscious" of the situation in Northern Ireland and said ministers were working on "alternative arrangements" for intelligence and data sharing.

"When it comes to security tools and security co-operation there are many measures that are being put in place right now in preparedness for no-deal," she told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"Specifically to Northern Ireland, we are conscious and we are working with all organisations, agencies, to ensure that we remain safe."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party would decide how to respond once they had seen any deal Mr Johnson was able to bring back from Brussels.

However, he urged "caution" on any MPs considering backing an agreement if it were put to a confirmatory referendum.

"I think many in Parliament, not necessarily Labour MPs but others might be more inclined to support it even if they don't really agree with the deal. But I would caution them," he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

Read more

Patel tight-lipped on whether Harry Dunn suspect could be extradited

Patel to launch fresh inquiry into Met's handling of Carl Beech case

Priti Patel pledges £20m police unit to tackle county lines

---Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK---