The BBC’s Match of the Day host Gary Lineker faced heat from Conservative party members after he stood up for refugees trying to gain asylum in Britain.
British interior minister Suella Braverman set out plans on Tuesday to forbid migrants who cross the English Channel from claiming asylum. She also said it was her "dream" to see a government flight deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.
In response, Lineker described the policy as "beyond awful" and "immeasurably cruel." Moreover, taking to Twitter, he said that the “language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”. Although the BBC’s guidelines are strict, they cannot stop him from expressing his views on Twitter, where he has over 8.7 million followers.
Responding to Lineker, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said the presenter's tweets were "disappointing and inappropriate."
“It is important for the BBC to retain impartiality if it is to retain the trust of the public who pay the license fee,” she added.
The BBC is now facing pressure as 85% of Daily Mail readers feel he should be sacked for his political views. They have not made a decision yet, and talks with Lineker are still underway. Richard Ayre, the former editorial policy controller of the BBC, said that the presenter had a choice to make. “Lineker must consider whether to stay or leave and become a social media influencer,” he stated.
Lineker, however, refuses to budge. On Wednesday, he tweeted: “Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree.”
Lineker is grateful for the support he has received and also added that he wants “to thank each and every one of you. It means a lot. I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice. Cheers, all.”
On being asked by reporters outside his home on Thursday whether he fears suspension from his job as a BBC host, he replied, “no.” He also made it clear that he does not regret expressing himself and stands by what he said.
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