Small boats: Gary Lineker to be ‘spoken to’ after comparing Tory policy to Nazi Germany
Gary Lineker will be given a talking-to by the BBC following a tweet in which he appeared to compare the Tory government’s attempted crackdown on small boats to Nazi Germany.
Tory MPs called the Match Of The Day host’s comments “foul, ill-conceived and disgraceful” and called on the broadcaster to take action.
Mr Lineker commented on a Twitter video put out by home secretary Suella Braverman, in which she unveiled government plans to stop migrant boats crossing the Channel.
“Good heavens, this is beyond awful,” the star football presenter wrote.
Responding to someone who said he was “out of order”, the presenter responded: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.”
Mr Lineker added: “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?”
The presenter will be “reminded of his responsibilities on social media” by the corporation following the he sent on Tuesday, the broadcaster said.
His comments were widely condemned by Tory politicians, who urged the BBC to take action.
Asked about Mr Lineker’s comments, Ms Braverman told Sky News: “I’m disappointed. It’s unhelpful to compare our measures to 1930s Germany. We’re on the side of the British people here.”
Robert Jenrick, the Tory immigration minister, told Times Radio that Mr Lineker is “so far out of step” with what the public want to be done regarding small boat crossings.
“My children are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and I think those sorts of words should not be thrown around lightly,” said the minister. “Gary Lineker is paid for by the British taxpayer.”
Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson wrote: “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.”
Craig Mackinlay, Tory MP for South Thanet, said the BBC should sack Mr Lineker. “Likening our proposed, robust yet fair new asylum policy – which will save lives in the Channel – with the darkest period of human history founded on pure evil, is foul, ill-conceived and disgraceful,” he told The Telegraph.
Jonathan Gullis, the Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, urged the BBC to “stand up” to Mr Lineker and “remind him his job is to talk football, not politics”.
Brendan Clarke-Smith, Tory MP for Bassetlaw, added: “This is not just insulting to the generosity of Brits, but also grossly offensive to the victims of one of the most evil regimes in history. Lineker is out of order and needs to get out of his metropolitan bubble.”
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said the Sunak government plan to deport asylum seekers without considering their claims amounted to a “clear breach” of international law.
A BBC source told The Telegraph: “Gary will be spoken to and reminded of his responsibilities on social media.”
A spokesperson for the corporation said: “The BBC has social media guidance, which is published. Individuals who work for us are aware of their responsibilities relating to social media. We have appropriate internal processes in place if required.
They added: “We would expect Gary to be spoken to and reminded of his responsibilities.”