Should Gary Lineker be sacked over political tweets? Have your say

Should Gary Lineker be sacked? 85% of MailOnline readers think Match of the Day host should get red card over asylum outburst – now have your say

  • The BBC is facing mounting pressure to sack Lineker over his political tweets 
  • Critics say the retired football hero’s remarks breach strict impartiality rules 
  • Now MailOnline readers have been having their say on the outspoken presenter  

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker should be sacked by the BBC for his outspoken political views, MailOnline readers have today declared. 


Should Gary Lineker be sacked?

Should Gary Lineker be sacked?

Now share your opinion

The former England football captain has come under intense pressure over his string of anti-Tory tweets, which critics say breach the Beeb’s strict impartiality rules. 

BBC bosses are wrestling with what to do about Lineker – their highest-paid star on £1.35 million a year – after he doubled down on remarks that likened the migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany

And now readers of the MailOnline have the answer: sack him. It comes after 85 per cent of people voted in favour of firing the 62-year-old retired football hero for his politically-charged antics online. 

But Lineker today insisted he stands by his criticism of the Government’s immigration policy and does not fear being suspended. 

This morning, the £1.35million-a-year star briefly answered two questions from reporters outside his London home relating to his tweet that slammed the policy. 

Gary Lineker (pictured), who earns £1.35million a year from the licence fee payer, has attracted the wrath of his bosses for his divisive comments

When asked ‘do you stand by what you said in your tweet?’, he said ‘course’. And when asked ‘do you fear getting suspended?’, Lineker told reporters ‘no.’

READ MORE: Calls grow for BBC to sack Gary Lineker for comparing Suella Braverman’s migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany: Tory fury at £1.35million-a-year star as MPs say outburst is ‘a step too far’ 

It comes after Richard Ayre, the BBC’s former controller of editorial policy, warned that the corporation’s boss Tim Davie might have to ‘let him [Lineker] go unless he can be certain that this is the end of it’.

Mr Ayre described Lineker as ‘one of the BBC’s crown jewels’, adding: ‘Just as you can’t have sundry members of the House of Windsor slagging off the government of the day because it would call the role of the King into question, you can’t have a member of the BBC royal family comparing Suella Braverman to the Third Reich.’ 

The crisis facing Lineker deepened further on Wednesday when the BBC’s culture and media editor said it was ‘an understatement’ to the Match of the Day host’s asylum policy tweets ’cause difficulty’ for the Beeb. 

Katie Razzall said while Lineker is a sports presenter tweeting on his personal Twitter account, if a news presenter commented, about the government’s asylum policies like Lineker has done, ‘they would at the very least receive a very serious warning’.

She continued: ‘Lineker, as somebody associated with sport for the BBC, and who argues he is a freelancer, is in a different position.

‘”I try to be sensible,” he told Radio 4’s Media Show in 2021, saying that as a freelancer he’s “considerate” to his employers when it comes to what he tweets. 

‘He added that the BBC rules “only apply to people in news and current affairs”.’ 

Katie Razzall (pictured) said that the BBC was the UK’s ‘most scrutinised media organisation in increasingly polarised times’, with director general Tim Davie having made impartiality a key element of his leadership

Razzall said the BBC was the UK’s ‘most scrutinised media organisation in increasingly polarised times’, with director general Tim Davie having made impartiality a key element of his leadership. 

She said: ‘Trust in the corporation is at the heart of this. It matters if the public believes its public service broadcaster doesn’t represent their views, or that the BBC is shaped by a particular perspective.’

READ MORE: Slamming Brexit, backing asylum seekers and crossing swords with BBC’s cricket correspondent: Gary Lineker’s long history of Twitter own goals and gaffes

She said there was a ‘big difference’ between impartiality that staff and on-air talent who work in news were bound by and ‘due’ impartiality, which the BBC was committed to achieving across its outputs. 

Simply speaking, this means that while news should be given objectively, ‘if someone says the earth is round, the BBC does not give equal weight to someone else who claims the earth is flat’, Ms Razzall said. 

She said while the BBC’s sports and news teams are separate from one another, for audiences that distinction can be less clear, as they consider someone who is on the BBC as working for the BBC, like Lineker. 

The culture and media editor said: ‘The BBC is in a difficult position. They say a “frank” conversation is being had with Lineker. But in the end, what are the options?

‘With some Conservative MPs calling for him to be sacked, not for the first time, the pressure is mounting.’.

Downing Street has called his intervention ‘not acceptable’ and ‘disappointing’, while Tory MPs have lined up to criticise the flagrant breach of BBC impartiality rules

Downing Street called his intervention ‘not acceptable’ and ‘disappointing’, while Tory MPs have lined up to criticise the flagrant breach of BBC impartiality rules. 

Labour has also condemned the comments, with Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesman saying comparisons with the Nazis ‘aren’t always the best way to make’ an argument. 

Meanwhile a number of high-profile BBC stars claimed if they had made similar outspoken political posts online, they would have been sacked. 

Speaking on Radio 4, former political editor Nick Robinson said: ‘Let’s be clear: if you or I said something like this, we’d be fired.’

The BBC has said it expects to have a ‘frank conversation’ with the presenter over his comments about the UK’s asylum plan as critics demanded he gets the sack for the latest in a long series of impartiality breaches. 

READ MORE: Lineker continues £4.9m tax battle with HMRC

Criticising Lineker, Energy Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter: ‘As a Jewish Cabinet minister I need no lessons about 1930s Germany from @GaryLineker.

‘Like Gary, I am hosting refugees in my own home, but unlike Gary, I do not believe it is either right or moral to tolerate criminal gangs trafficking vulnerable people across the Channel.’ 

Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson told MailOnline: ‘Yet again Gary Lineker has been allowed to kick about vile and baseless accusations, and the public are sick to the back teeth of it. It’s time to tackle this woke crisp salesman and hold him to account for the nonsense he spews.’

Former minister Robert Jenrick said: ‘My children are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and I think those sorts of words should not be thrown around lightly. Gary Lineker is paid for by the British taxpayer. And it’s disappointing that he is so far out of step with the British public.’ 

Lineker today thanked his supporters after his tweet slamming the Government’s plan to crackdown on migrant crossings

Lineker ‘crossed a line’ by comparing Suella Braverman’s migrant plan to Nazi Germany, BBC sources said last night. There are calls for him to be sacked

The corporation’s highest-paid star, who is on £1.35million a year, will be rebuked by bosses for attacking the Home Secretary’s plans to ‘stop the boats’. Suella Braverman told BBC Breakfast today that Gary Lineker’s comments were disappointing

In a defiant message to his 8.7million Twitter followers, Lineker said: ‘I have never known such love and support in my life than I’m getting this morning (England World Cup goals aside, possibly).

‘I want 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’. 

The BBC said earlier that Lineker would be ‘spoken to’ and ‘reminded of his responsibilities’. 

But Craig Mackinlay, the Conservative MP for South Thanet, said the comments were a ‘step too far’ and that the BBC must sack the presenter.

Jonathan Gullis, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, asked the public service broadcaster to ‘stand up’ to the outspoken presenter and ‘remind him his job is to talk football, not politics’. 

Slamming Brexit, backing asylum seekers and crossing swords with BBC’s cricket correspondent: Gary Lineker’s long history of Twitter own goals and gaffes


Gary Lineker has once again found himself in hot water with the BBC over his outspoken political views – and is facing fresh calls to be sacked. 

The Match of the Day host’s anti-Tory tweets have ignited anger within the corporation, with critics saying they breach the BBC’s strict impartiality rules.

It comes after the star doubled down on his remarks thatlikened the migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany. 

But amid calls for him to be fired, Lineker defiantly resumed tweeting about the politically-charged topic. He told his Twitter followers yesterday that he had never known such ‘love and support’ and said he would ‘continue to try and speak up’. 

It’s not the first time the former England ace has spoken out, having previously been slammed for raising his views over Brexit and illegal migrants, which have led to spats with BBC colleagues who said they would have been sacked for making such remarks. 

Now MailOnline looks back at Lineker’s string of gaffes and outbursts over the years. 

The corporation’s news staff were said to be ‘boiling’ with anger that the Match of the Day host’s (pictured) anti-Tory tweets flout strict impartiality rules that they have to obey

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) was slammed by Lineker over her measures to stop small boats illegally reaching the UK

March 7, 2023

He calls Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s measures to stop the small boats ‘beyond awful’ and ‘an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s…’ 

READ MORE: ‘You can’t have one of the BBC’s crown jewels comparing Suella Braverman to the Third Reich’: Ex-BBC chief warns ‘heads will roll’ over Gary Lineker’s tweets

February 27, 2023

Appears to mock Rishi Sunak’s landmark EU deal over Northern Ireland, writing: ‘So we’re getting Brexit done… again.’ 

February 20, 2023

He shares a video that calls for illegal immigrants arriving on small boats to be granted citizenship. 

He wrote: ‘Why leave them to fester in a hotel with the far-Right screaming abuse at them? Give them legal status and get them going.’ 

February 15, 2023 

Lineker posts from an airport arrivals queue: ‘Another monster queue at customs at a European city next to deserted lanes for EU members. The delights of Brexit.’ 

January 14, 2023

The former England football captain retweets a post calling Home Secretary Suella Braverman ‘utterly devoid of sensibility’ after her exchange with a Holocaust survivor. 

January 11, 2023

Then-culture secretary Michelle Donelan said the BBC should be ‘conscious’ of recent comments made by Lineker.

Ms Donelan was speaking to The News Agents podcast about remarks Lineker had made on the same show about the World Cup in Qatar and racism in America. 

Gary Lineker has repeatedly come under fire for his political views, which critics say breach BBC impartiality rules 

Lineker has been critical of the Conservative Party’s crackdown on small boats, likening it to Nazi Germany. Pictured is Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday during a press conference after the Government unveiled plans for new laws to curb Channel crossings as part of the Illegal Migration Bill

‘There is a problem with impartiality and the BBC, they would say that they’ve recognised that themselves,’ she said.

October 2022

Lineker breached BBC impartiality rules with a social media post criticising the Tories, the broadcaster’s complaints team ruled.

The Match of the Day host, 62, used Twitter to quote an article about Liz Truss – then foreign secretary – urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia.

In his post, the former England striker, who has more than 8.7million followers on Twitter, added: ‘And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?’.

September 2022

BBC boss Tim Davie says reining in Lineker’s tweeting was a ‘work in progress’. 

Pictured: BBC boss Tim Davie said Lineker was a ‘work in progress’

August 2022

Lineker sparked a row with a senior BBC journalist with a Tweet about sewage.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘As a politician how could you ever, under any circumstances, bring yourself to vote for pumping sewage into our seas? Unfathomable!’

The tweet prompted veteran BBC journalist Neil Henderson, a home and foreign news editor, to ask the £1.35million-a-year presenter if his contract allowed him to breach the corporation’s impartiality rules.

The journalist wrote to him: ‘The BBC lives or dies by its impartiality. If you can’t abide it, get off it.’

Mr Henderson, following discussions with BBC bosses, later issued an apology.

Lineker was embroiled in a row with a senior BBC journalist following his tweet about sewerage (pictured)

The Match of the Day host and former England captain has been vocal about his political views, having criticised the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit and the migrant crisis 

One person demanded Lineker quit after his comments in 2016 about his remarks over the refugee crisis. When someone said ‘you deserve it, hope you lose your job’, Lineker retweeted and defiantly said: ‘I won’t.’  

July 2022

Lineker found himself at odds with ex-racing driver turned Sky commentator Martin Brundle over his response to a Just Stop Oil protest.

Protesters stormed the British Grand Prix, sparking fury from Brundle, who said they could have been killed.

Lineker tweeted: ‘History will look back very favourably on these people’.

But Brundle replied: ‘Gary please don’t encourage this reckless behaviour. ‘They’d have been sliced into 100 pieces and fans, marshals and drivers were wholly at risk of injury and death. I totally support freedom of speech and opinion, but do it responsibly.’

Lineker appeared to show his support for Just Stop Oil protesters in July 2022 following their demonstration at Silverstone Grand Prix, which saw some activists storming the track 

October 2020

Lineker said he had spoken to the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie ‘quite a few times in recent weeks’ and that Mr Davie was ‘perfectly happy’ with his conduct on social media.

His comments came after new guidelines and training were announced by the BBC to ‘ensure the highest possible standards of impartiality’ among staff at the broadcaster.

December 2018 

Lineker’s politically-charged outbursts on social media drew criticism from a fellow BBC colleagues. 

Cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew said he would have been ‘sacked’ if her had expressed his political views as openly as Lineker 

Broadcaster Jonathan Agnew hit out at the BBC Sport host over the former England football captain’s outspoken political views on Brexit. 

Mr Agnew, who is a BBC cricket broadcaster, claimed Lineker was breaching BBC impartiality – and that if he had shown such political views he would have ‘been sacked’.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: ‘Gary. You are the face of BBC Sport. Please observe BBC editorial guidelines and keep your political views, whatever they are and whatever the subject, to yourself. I’d be sacked if I followed your example. Thanks.’

The message on social media followed a series of tweets by Lineker in which he appeared to slam the Tories, who at the time were holding a no-confidence vote in former PM Theresa May.  

‘Extraordinary to watch us take our country back and rip it to shreds in the process,’ he wrote in one tweet, before later retweeting David Cameron’s calls for the Conservatives to back Mrs May, which Lineker shared with crying-with-laughter emojis.

October 2016

The former England striker was slammed over his stance on child refugees after a number were accused of looking old than 18. 

(file image of a refugee lighting a fire to keep warm in Dunkirk, France, in November 2021)

The accusation prompted the BBC presenter to tweet: ‘The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist.’

Lineker was blasted for his take, with critics at the time accusing him of breaching BBC impartiality guidelines, which state ‘external activities’ must not impact the public perception of the broadcasting giant’s impartiality.  

Following the backlash, Mr Lineker tweeted: ‘Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse – imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.’

When someone replied saying they hoped he would lose his job because he ‘deserved it’, Lineker hit back, saying: ‘I won’t’.

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