Daily Mail


TV bosses’ anger at £1.35m presenter as sources warn his latest political outburst ‘crossed a line’

- By Paul Revoir and David Barrett

GARY LINEKER ‘crossed a line’ by comparing Suella Braverman’s migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany, BBC sources said last night.

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’.

The Match of the Day host had shared online a video of Mrs Braverman

outlining the Illegal Migration Bill, with the comment: ‘Good heavens, this is beyond awful.’

He then used his Twitter account, with 8.6million followers, to describe the plans as ‘immeasurab­ly cruel’.

Accused of being out of order, the former England footballer, who has

been criticised for previous anti-Tory comments, replied: ‘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?’

The remarks incensed Conservati­ve MPs who accused the presenter of an ‘extraordin­ary and outrageous slur’.

Lineker, 62, is expected to be rebuked by bosses ‘very promptly’ a BBC source said. They added: ‘It’s clear that a line has been crossed.’

Mrs Braverman yesterday said judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg would be asked not to intervene in asylum policy. It is understood they will be told that if they fail to agree, UK domestic law will be changed to allow ministers to ignore their rulings.

All claims lodged by irregular migrants – such as small boat arrivals – will be ruled inadmissib­le as soon as they reach Britain. They will be detained, removed ‘in weeks’ to either their home country or a safe third country such as Rwanda – and banned from ever returning, Rishi Sunak said.

The vast majority will have to lodge appeals abroad. In other developmen­ts:

■ Mr Sunak said migrant removal flights to Rwanda could begin by the summer;

■ The PM vowed to overcome opposition in the courts and Parliament;

■ Mrs Braverman warned there was a more than 50 per cent chance her Bill would fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights;

■ Writing in the Mail today she says ‘Establishm­ent forces’ have blocked previous attempts to solve the Channel crisis;

■ The UN’s refugee agency is ‘profoundly concerned’ by the plans, which it says amount to an asylum ban;

■ It emerged that an Afghan waiting in a

French camp to take a small boat to the UK was deported from Britain in 2019 after raping a girl of just 12;

■ TikTok said it was cracking down on adverts by human trafficker­s.

The row about Lineker’s tweets comes after he was found to have broken BBC impartiali­ty rules for singling out Conservati­ves over having ‘ Russian donors’ in a post in February last year.

In a radio interview, the presenter also described remarks by Mrs Braverman about the Rwanda removals policy as ‘pretty abhorrent’.

In September last year the BBC faced a backlash over claims it had forced a senior journalist to apologise to Lineker for criticisin­g the Match of the Day host’s anti-Government tweets.

That same month, director-general Tim Davie was forced to address the contin

ued controvers­y over Lineker’s politicise­d tweets when he appeared in front of MPs. The BBC boss said the presenter’s approach to impartiali­ty was a ‘work in progress’, but he claimed his social media behaviour had undergone a ‘massive improvemen­t’.

Criticisin­g Lineker’s latest comments, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson told The Daily Telegraph: ‘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.’

Conservati­ve MP Bill Cash said: ‘I am really very angry he should make such an extraordin­ary and outrageous slur, which is complete and total rubbish. We are trying to help people who otherwise are being taken by criminals on these boats.’

Fellow Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith added: ‘It is not just insulting to this nation and the generosity of Brits, but also grossly offensive to the victims of one of the most evil regimes in history, which we also fought against and took many refugees from. Lineker is out of order and needs to get out of his metropolit­an bubble and learn some perspectiv­e.’

The BBC’s guidance says of its high-profile stars: ‘ We expect these individual­s to avoid taking sides on party political issues.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Individual­s who work for us are aware of their responsibi­lities relating to social media. We have appropriat­e internal processes in place if required.’

‘He should stick to flogging crisps’

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Storm: Gary Lineker

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