Is UK Home Secretary Priti Patel laughing in this image? She was not, and both the BBC and interiewer Andrew Marr have apologized for his suggestion that she was. It is her normal facial expression, as Patel correctly pointed out, and not a response to Marr’s discussion of people who would suffer under Brexit.
“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 top results for Patel on Google Image search (below) suggest to me that Patel’s facial expressions are, perhaps unfairly, one of those British media things. It strikes me as what happens when you’re trying to hold a benign, unexploitable facial expression in the presence of cameras, but don’t have a lot of practice or training in such things, and end up with an unintentionally icy smirk.
The context: Patel is as far right as mainstream UK conservatism gets, a former tobacco industry lobbyist who once suggested threatening the Irish Republic with the prospect of “food shortages”. She was forced to resign from former PM Theresa May’s government when it emerged she’d secretely met with Israel’s prime minister a day before May’s own official visit. Thanks to Boris Johnson becoming prime minister, Patel’s back in the saddle.
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