Priti Patel accused of 'laughing' during No Deal Brexit interview

13 October 2019, 15:36

Priti Patel was accused of 'laughing' at the effects of No Deal Brexit
Priti Patel was accused of 'laughing' at the effects of No Deal Brexit. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Home Secretary Priti Patel has been criticised for 'laughing' during an interview over the impact of a No Deal Brexit.

While the BBC’s Andrew Marr was reading out a list of industry groups who have raised concerns in a letter to the Government about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, he topped and said to Ms Patel: "I can't see why you are laughing."

Ms Patel, who was being interviewed over video link rather than in the studio, could be seen smiling as Mr Marr spoke of the industry representatives' concerns.

The Home Secretary did not respond to the comment.

Mr Marr's comment came as Ms Patel had been defending the Government's negotiating position with the EU.

He said 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".

Mr Marr said: "The Government's own modelling suggests that this Free Trade Agreement would result in a lower growth of 6.7%. 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."

After Mr Marr informed Ms Patel that it was from the Government's own documents, she continued: "Well, Andrew, there's been a range of information that has been put out in the media over recent weeks and months, much of which, I should say, is out of date.

"And as someone that sits, someone who sits on the Cabinet committee every single day, where we're looking at the preparations for Britain post-Brexit, preparing for a no deal as well, you know, we have every confidence in our economy, in our businesses, but also in terms of future prospects post-Brexit."

Mr Marr then proceeded to read out a list of industry representatives who had raised concerns about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

He said: "OK, let's hear from those businesses directly then, because a whole bunch of them, and I'll read them out, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the people that make and sell cars; the Chemical Industries Association; the Food and Drink Federation; the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and the Aerospace Trade Industry body, 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.

"And they've said that this proposal 'is a serious risk to manufacturing competitiveness and will result in huge new costs and disruption to UK firms'.

Pausing in the middle of reading the extract from the letter, Mr Marr turned to a television screen showing Ms Patel on a video link and said: "I can't see why you're laughing."

He then 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 a really serious challenge to this plan, is it not?"

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.