Priti Patel told off for ‘laughing’ by as she’s told of businesses’ Brexit fears

The BBC's Andrew Marr accused Priti Patel of “laughing” on his flagship political programme when he asked her about businesses' fears over no-deal Brexit .

It came after the Home Secretary, who was being interviewed by video link, appeared to smirk as the presenter read out a series of warnings from industry groups about the potentially damaging impact of a no-deal Brexit on their sectors.

He listed the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Chemical Industries Association, the Food and Drink Federation, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and the Aerospace Trade Industry body.

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.”

Looking up from the joint letter he was reading out to the screen showing the Home Secretary, he lancing up said to Ms Patel: 'I can’t see why you’re laughing.'

Ms Patel ignored the rebuke and ploughed on with defending the government's preparations.

She said: “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.

As a government we have a duty to work with those sectors, with those organisations, and we’re doing that.

“That is vital, that’s very important, and many of those organisations, Andrew, that you yourself have listed have been part of those discussions…

“I do take issue with the way in which you phrased that, because as a government we have a duty to work with those sectors, with those organisations, and we’re doing that.”

Viewers were divided as to whether or not the cabinet minister was laughing.

Remain campaigner and Labour MP David Lammy wrote on Twitter : “Priti Patel is reminded of her own government's analysis of the disastrous impact of Boris Johnson's proposed Brexit.

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