The BBC has apologised after Andrew Marr accused Priti Patel of laughing during an interview about Brexit.
While discussing the subject with the home secretary on his Sunday morning politics show on 13 October, Marr said: “I can’t see why you’re laughing.”
Patel appeared to ignore his comment and continued with her answer.
The corporation received 222 complaints and now accepts Patel was not “smiling” but displaying her “natural expression”.
During the interview, Marr read out a list of industry bodies who had expressed concern about the impact Brexit would have on their businesses.
Patel, who was appearing via video link, did not speak as Marr then recited a letter one group had sent to the government, but her facial expressions prompted him to suggest she was laughing.
In a statement, the BBC wrote: “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.”
The statement concluded: “There was no intention to cause offence and we are sorry if viewers felt this to be the case.”
The Daily Mail quoted a source close to the home secretary as saying: “Priti is grateful to Andrew for correcting his mistake and looks forward to appearing on his show in future.”
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