‘I can’t see why you are laughing’: Priti Patel accused of smirking about impact of no-deal Brexit on BBC's Andrew Marr Show

Home secretary appears to be smiling during interview on industry fears over Brexit

Conrad Duncan
Monday 14 October 2019 09:33
Priti Patel appears to smile at mention of no-deal fears 'I can't see why you're laughing'

Home secretary Priti Patel has been accused of laughing about the impact of a no-deal Brexit during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

Ms Patel, who was being interviewed over a video link, appeared to be smiling as Mr Marr spoke about the fears of British industry groups.

Halfway through reading out a list of groups who have raised concerns in a letter to the government about a no-deal Brexit, Mr Marr said to Ms Patel: “I can’t see why you are laughing.”

The Conservative minister did not respond to the comment and replied by saying the government has been making preparation to mitigate any potential negative impact of no-deal.

Ms Patel was appearing on the show to defend the government’s negotiating position with the EU.

The BBC presenter explained that industry bodies at the “forefront” of the economy, including representatives from the chemical, aerospace and food sectors, had raised concerns that a no-deal Brexit posed a “serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness”.

At one point, Mr Marr said: “The government’s own modelling suggests that this Free Trade Agreement would result in a lower growth of 6.7 per cent. Is that something that you’re prepared to accept as a price worth paying?”

Ms Patel responded: “Well, I don’t accept that, and you know, I don’t know which data you’re quoting.”

Mr Marr then reminded her he was quoting the government’s own documents.

Nigel Evans, a Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, has defended the home secretary.

“Priti Patel and the government are fed up with ‘project fear’ stories and being hammered by journalists who are critical because a government is working tirelessly to deliver what people voted for in the 2016 referendum,” Mr Evans told the Press Association.

On social media, Labour MP David Lammy responded to the interview by saying it was “unforgiveable” that Ms Patel did not know her own government’s analysis.

“Priti Patel is reminded of her own government’s analysis of the disastrous impact of Boris Johnson‘s proposed Brexit, she replies ‘I don’t know which data you’re quoting,’” Mr Lammy said.

“With people’s jobs and livelihoods on the line, this is unforgivable.”

Agencies contributed to this report

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