Home secretary Priti Patel

The BBC has apologised after Andrew Marr accused home secretary Priti Patel of laughing during an interview about business leaders’ Brexit concerns.

Marr was questioning Patel, who appeared via video link on the October 13 show, about the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union when he suddenly looked up and said: “I can’t see why you’re laughing.”

Patel did not respond to and continued answering his questions.

The BBC received 222 complaints following the incident and the corporation said that Marr “accepts this was in fact her natural expression.”

A BBC spokesperson said yesterday (22): “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.”

Several of Patel’s Tory colleagues had slammed Marr for deliberately ambushing the home secretary.

A senior Tory source told MailOnline: “She clearly wasn’t laughing – anyone can watch the footage back and see that. He wasn’t even looking up at the time which suggests this was a premeditated move to generate a bit of publicity.”

Senior backbencher Nigel Evans said: “Part of the problem is that people like Andrew Marr forget that the British people actually voted for Brexit.

“The people who pay the licence fee, the people who pay their taxes, they voted for Brexit.”

He added: “It is called democracy…. Democracy within the BBC is give us the licence fee and we will pump whatever we want at you.

“It is pointless him berating the Home Secretary for trying to deliver what we promised the British people three years ago we would deliver.”