Priti Patel told off for ‘laughing’ during discussion about business Brexit fears

Priti Patel appears to smirk during a discussion about business fears. Photograph: BBC.

Priti Patel appears to smirk during a discussion about business fears. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Home secretary Priti Patel has been told off for 'laughing' during a discussion about businesses Brexit fears.

Patel was appearing on Andrew Marr's BBC television show as he put forward business concerns about the government's approach to leaving the European Union.

As he explained issues from representatives of key sectors including the pharmaceutical, motoring, aerospace and food sectors, the minister appeared to smirk.

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."

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But Marr was quick to point out that she was still smirking as he explained their fears.

"I can't see why you're laughing," the presenter told Patel.

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He continued: "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."

Patel did not respond to Marr's criticisms on this point, but did address his wider point about the government's approach to 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."

Peter Stefanovic posted a clip which has since gone viral. He wrote: "'I can't see why you're laughing' says Andrew Marr to Home Secretary Priti Patel as she smirks whilst he reads out the manufacturing industries dire warnings on her government's Brexit proposals".

Tory MP Nadim Zahawi insisted that the minister had not laughed, writing on social media: "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."

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