What did Gary Lineker say about the Home Office’s small boats policy?

What did Gary Lineker say about the Home Office’s small boats policy?
'Do you stand by what you said?': Gary Lineker addresses his criticism …

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.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

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.

"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.

"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.

"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."

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.

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."

LBC radio host, James O'Brien described Lineker's comments as a "measured description of deliberately disgusting rhetoric."

Carol Vorderman also noted how it is "important that people who have a voice speak up about this appalling & corrupt government."

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"

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."

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.

"I'll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice," he added.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)