Lineker mocked by Tory MPs after being ‘shown the red card’ by BBC

Gary Lineker 'didn't choose to step back' says Dan Walker

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Gary Lineker has been mocked by Tory MPs after the BBC opted to pull the presenter off air following his comments about migration. The Match of the Day host faced ferocious backlash after he compared the Government’s new migration policy to the tactics of Nazi Germany in tweets earlier this week. Reacting to the announcement, Conservative MP Scott Benton celebrated Mr Lineker “finally” being “shown the red card”.

The party’s Deputy Chairman Lee Anderson joked that it is a “sad day” following the news.

Mr Anderson said he hopes the suspension will give Mr Lineker time to “reflect”, noting that the Match of the Day Presenter “receives a large amount of money from the great British public – the majority of which do not share his views.”

Meanwhile, fellow Conservative MP Ben Everitt joked: “Out of solidarity for Gary and Ian, I am not going to present Match of the Day tomorrow either”.

This came after MOTD host Ian Wright announced that he would not be presenting the programme tomorrow in the wake of the Lineker decision.

Writing on Twitter, Mr Wright said: “Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”

Jonathon Gullis, Tory MP for Stoke North, told the Daily Express: “I’m pleased to see that the BBC have finally decided to take decisive action in ensuring that Gary Lineker steps back whilst they discuss the terms of his contract, which is very simple – while he works for and is paid by the state-funded broadcaster, the rules are very clear that he should be politically neutral.”

He added: “If he is unable to do that he should not remain in the employment of the BBC.”

Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also celebrated Mr Lineker’s suspension, saying she is “delighted” with the decision. 

She added: “I can’t see how they can continue with Lineker as a presenter. They are a Public Service Broadcaster which has to follow Ofcom guidance”

She added: “Lineker is entitled to his political views and I’m sure he will find a streaming giant happy to accommodate him.”

Sharing a video from the Home Office featuring Suella Braverman, Mr Lineker 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?”

As a BBC presenter, Lineker is expected to be politically impartial. Today the broadcaster said it believed that his “recent social media activity” had been a breach of guidelines and that he should “keep away from taking sides on party political or political controversies”.

The broadcaster said it had had “extensive discussions with Gary and team in recent days” and “has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.

“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none,” it continued in a statement.

Mr Benton told the Daily Express: “Lineker certainly chose the wrong flavour for his appalling comments.

“His position working for the BBC was completely untenable.

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“He’s entitled to his views, like the rest of us, but he shouldn’t share them when working for a supposedly impartial organisation.

“Looks like he’s finally been shown the red card!”

Lee Anderson agreed, saying: “It is ironic to see the BBC cancel one of their own, when for far too long they have been the unofficial opposition to the conservative government.

“That said, hopefully, this will give time for Gary Lineker to reflect on his decision and the fact that he receives a large amount of money from the great British public – the majority of which do not share his views.”

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