Gary Lineker has reportedly stepped back from his role on Match of the Day following his criticism of the government's migrant policy.
The former footballer made headlines earlier this week following comments he made about the Home Office's small boats policy.
The football pundit weighed in reacting to a video posted on Twitter by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, where she outlined the government's new Illegal Migration Bill that plans to ban people arriving via illegal routes from claiming asylum in the UK.
“Good heavens, this is beyond awful,” Lineker wrote, in response to the clip.
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He then further shared his thoughts, as he described the plan as an "immeasurably cruel policy," and compared it to Nazi Germany.
"There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries," Lineker tweeted.
\u201c@a_webb @secrettory12 There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I\u2019m out of order?\u201d— Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b (@Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b) 1678195108
"This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?"
Since then, a BBC source told The Daily Telegraph Lineker will be "spoken to and reminded of his responsibilities on social media," by the national broadcaster.
Meanwhile, Downing Street have hit back, describing Lineker's language as “not acceptable" and "disappointing."
“It’s obviously disappointing to see someone whose salary is funded by hard-working British (licence-fee) payers using that kind of rhetoric and seemingly dismissing their legitimate concerns that they have about small boats crossings and illegal migration," the PM's press secretary said, as per The Independent.
“But beyond that, it’s up to the BBC, who I think have said today that they’ll be having a conversation with Gary Lineker and it’s not for me to comment further.”
Braverman herself has since said she is "disappointed," by Lineker's comments when she appeared on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday morning.
\u201c'It's unhelpful to compare our measures to 1930s Germany'\n\nOn #BBCBreakfast Home Secretary Suella Braverman criticised Gary Lineker after he tweeted about the Government's asylum policy\n\nhttps://t.co/vUlRBwWLG0\u201d— BBC Breakfast (@BBC Breakfast) 1678261775
"I think it's unhelpful to compare our measures which are lawful, proportionate and compassionate to 1930s Germany,” the home secretary added.
Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson described Lineker's comments as "virtue signaling nonsense."
“This is just another example of how out of touch these overpaid stars are with the voting public," he tweeted.
\u201cHe's piped up again with his virtue signalling nonsense.\n\nI said \ud83d\udc47\n\n"This is just another example of how out of touch these overpaid stars are with the voting public. Instead of lecturing, Mr Lineker should stick to reading out the football scores and flogging crisps."\u201d— Lee Anderson MP (@Lee Anderson MP) 1678210148
"Instead of lecturing, Mr Lineker should stick to reading out the football scores and flogging crisps."
Energy secretary, Grant Shapps has said: "As a Jewish Cabinet minister I need no lessons about 1930s Germany form @GaryLineker."
\u201cAs a Jewish Cabinet minister I need no lessons about 1930s Germany from @GaryLineker. Like Gary, I am hosting refugees in my own home, but unlike Gary, I do not believe it is either right or moral to tolerate criminal gangs trafficking vulnerable people across the channel.\u201d— Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP) 1678279824
Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay also said Lineker's comments were "foul, ill-conceived and disgraceful" and urged the BBC to sack him.
Nigel Farage has similarly urged Lineker to be sacked from his role as Match of the Day presenter.
\u201cAndrew Bridgen got sacked for making WW2 references as an MP. \n\nSo should Gary Lineker as a taxpayer-funded BBC pundit!\u201d— Nigel Farage (@Nigel Farage) 1678265822
Though there have also been many that have defended Lineker.
A spokesperson for Labour leader Keir Starmer described Lineker as a "passionate advocate" for refugees.
“I think there is a general observation that I’d make, which is I think comparisons with Germany in the 1930s aren’t always the best way to make one’s argument," reporters were told in Westminster, as per Huffington Post.
“On the specifics of Gary Lineker speaking out, everybody will know that he has been a passionate advocate on behalf of refugees and refugee rights, including taking refugees into his own home.
“So, I don’t think it will come as a surprise that he has strong views on this subject.”
The News Agents host, Emily Maitlis noted how Lineker was "free to raise questions about Qatar's human rights record" at the World Cup last year while presenting for the BBC, "but cannot raise questions of human rights in this country if it involves criticism of government policy."
\u201cCurious that @GaryLineker was free to raise questions about Qatar\u2019s human rights record - with the blessing of the bbc - over the World Cup , but cannot raise questions of human rights in this country if it involves criticism of government policy \u2026\u201d— emily m (@emily m) 1678278526
LBC radio host, James O'Brien described Lineker's comments as a "measured description of deliberately disgusting rhetoric."
\u201cRight-wing politicians & pundits attacking a sports broadcaster for a measured description of deliberately disgusting rhetoric is not just about Gary Lineker. It\u2019s a warning to everyone at the BBC not to upset them. Fear of being next in the firing line influences many decisions.\u201d— James O'Brien (@James O'Brien) 1678267031
Carol Vorderman also noted how it is "important that people who have a voice speak up about this appalling & corrupt government."
\u201cIt is important that people who have a voice speak up about this appalling & corrupt government.\nSo it's wonderful to see the love and support for @GaryLineker today \ud83d\udc4d\ud83c\udffc\ud83d\udc4f\ud83c\udffc\u2764\ufe0f\nAs for the Illegal Immigration Bill....I read it as the Immigration Bill which is in itself illegal\ud83e\udd14\u201d— Carol Vorderman (@Carol Vorderman) 1678277137
Alastair Campbell also stuck up for Lineker in an opinion piece for The New European titled "In defence of Gary Lineker," where he wrote: "It’s the right and the duty of anyone with a platform to speak out against this cruelty"
\u201cBut the Tory MPs calling for his head don\u2019t want facts, they want anything that fuels their populist polarising politics which is all they have left with no record worth the name to defend. And here is my piece in defence of Lineker for @TheNewEuropean https://t.co/HNQ6Xrrt15 3/3\u201d— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@ALASTAIR CAMPBELL) 1678292210
Amid the heated debates surrounding his comments, Lineker took to Twitter once again where he joked: "Morning all. Anything going on?"
He then took aim at the "freedom of speech champions" who he claims are "demanding silence from those whom they disagree."
\u201cGreat to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree. \ud83d\udc4a\ud83c\udffb\u201d— Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b (@Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b) 1678273716
The presenter - who has resisted calls to delete his tweet - described how he has "never known such love and support," and thanked those who supported him.
\u201cI have never known such love and support in my life than I\u2019m getting this morning (England World Cup goals aside, possibly). I want to thank each and every one of you. It means a lot. I\u2019ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice. Cheers all. \ud83d\udc4a\ud83c\udffb\u201d— Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b (@Gary Lineker \ud83d\udc99\ud83d\udc9b) 1678275637
"I'll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice," he added.
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