Daily Mail

MOTD host ‘a bit to blame for mess’

- By Paul Revoir Media Editor

VETERAN BBC journalist John Simpson has accused Gary Lineker of helping create the mess that the corporatio­n has found itself in over the Match Of The Day presenter’s antiTory tweets.

The 78-year-old war correspond­ent said Lineker ‘ must have known’ that talking about the Government’s immigratio­n policy was going to be ‘tricky’. Simpson, who presents his own Unspun World series, said he would not have done it in that way.

While the BBC, including director-general Tim Davie, have been highly criticised for their handling of the issue, Simpson suggested Lineker, 62, was not without blame.

Fellow presenters, pundits and commentato­rs pulled out of last Saturday’s Match Of The Day after Lineker was stood down over the row.

On Monday the BBC said he would return this weekend, despite not apologisin­g for his controvers­ial tweet. On Radio 4’s The Media Show yesterday, Simpson was asked if he agreed it had been ‘a mess of the BBC’s making’.

He replied: ‘Well, I think it’s been a mess.’ Pushed by presenter Ros Atkins, he added: ‘Well, I mean, actually to be honest, I think Gary Lineker helped a bit. A lot of people will support exactly what he said about refugees... I wouldn’t have done it in the way that he did it. I would have found other ways of expressing it.

‘But... it doesn’t look good. It’s awkward. It’s really difficult and embarrassi­ng. I just think it was a fantastic own goal. As I understand it, the Government... never put any private pressure on. [It] was something we did to ourselves.’

 ?? ?? BBC veteran: John Simpson
BBC veteran: John Simpson

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