Gary Lineker 'doesn't fear BBC suspension' as he stands by Nazi Germany comments

Gary Lineker has shared that he ‘does not fear suspension by the BBC’ over his Nazi Germany comments, and stands by his criticism of the Government’s immigration policy.

The Match of the Day presenter blasted the government’s newly announced controversial policy to stop illegal boats carrying migrants from reaching the UK on Tuesday.

The footballer-turned-pundit had responded to a video by Braverman on Twitter in which she called to ‘stop the boats’ with a new Illegal Migration Bill, calling it an ‘immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.’

When asked by reporters on Thursday if he stands by his tweet, Lineker replied: ‘Course’.

When asked ‘Do you fear getting suspended?’ he replied: ‘No’.

‘Good heavens, this is beyond awful,’ he wrote.

‘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’m out of order?’

His comments were widely condemned by Tory politicians, who urged the BBC to take action.

It was later reported that Lineker had been spoken to by the BBC following the comments, with some reports claiming his job could be at risk, while Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been asked to respond on interviews with the likes of Good Morning Britain and BBC Breakfast.

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Braverman later said she is ‘obviously disappointed’ about his comments.

‘I think it is unhelpful to compare our measures which are lawful, proportionate and indeed compassionate to 1930s Germany,’ she said.

‘I also think we are on the side of the British people here.

‘It’s plain for anyone to see that the British people have had enough of this situation of thousands of people coming her illegally at huge cost to the taxpayer and undermining our laws and in fact the British generosity,’ she added while appearing on BBC News Breakfast on Wednesday.

Braverman added: ‘That needs to stop. We need to take necessary steps now to ensure that if you are coming here illegally you will be detained and will be removed and that is what this bill will do.’

Meanwhile, despite facing backlash from the likes of Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, others supported Lineker’s stance, with controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan saying that he has ‘no problem’ with the expression.

‘Gary got a bit carried away, as he tends to do. We get into it quite regularly, this is what he does and he would say the same about me,’ he said.

‘We both have strong opinions, we both believe in what we say and we express them forcefully, but we agree to disagree and I have no problem with Gary Lineker, a football presenter, sports presenter, from giving his views.

BBC director-general Tim Davie warned staff about their use of social media when he took on the role at the end of 2020, and guidelines around social media use have since been updated.

Staff were told they needed to follow editorial guidelines and editorial oversight in the same way as when doing BBC content.

He said he had not liked Lineker airing his opinions on alleged Qatari human rights abuses during coverage of last year’s World Cup tournament as it had “blended football and politics”.

“If you decide not to watch him because of opinions, that’s your right. But I don’t think you can be a campaigner for free speech as I am and just turn off the tap, because I don’t like the opinion I’m hearing,” he said.

“If Lineker was cheering the government for getting to grips with the migrant crisis, the very people now demanding he be fired would be wanting him to get a statue in Trafalgar Square.”

Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content so does not need to adhere to the same rules on impartiality.

Last year he was named as the BBC’s top earning on-air talent for the fifth consecutive year, and was paid between £1,350,000 and £1,354,999 in 2021/2022 for Match Of The Day and Sports Personality Of The Year.

A representative for Lineker declined to comment further to PA News Agency.

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