The BBC has apologised after Andrew Marr accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of laughing during an interview as they discussed fears over the potential impact of a hard Brexit on businesses.
The corporation also said Marr has admitted that although he thought he saw Patel smiling at what he was saying, it was actually her “natural expression” and wasn’t “indicating amusement”.
The MP appeared via video link on The Andrew Marr Show on 13 October discussed a letter from business leaders to the Government claiming Boris Johnson’s planned post-Brexit trading arrangements would result in “huge new costs and disruption to UK firms”.
As he read an extract from the letter, with Patel seen listening on a TV screen behind him, Marr suddenly stopped and said: “I can’t see why you’re laughing.”
The BBC received multiple complaints and online backlash over Marr’s comment, leading to an apology made yesterday.
The BBC said: “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.
“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.”