Gary Lineker signs up with charity to house a refugee

3 September 2020, 01:04 | Updated: 3 September 2020, 01:29

Gary Lineker has said he is ready to welcome a refugee into his home
Gary Lineker has said he is ready to welcome a refugee into his home. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Pundit and former footballer Gary Lineker will welcome a refugee to live with him in his Surrey mansion.

The ex-Everton and Spurs player told the Mirror he has been in contact with the charity Refugees at Home about offering an asylum seeker a place to stay.

He told the paper he is "not at all" apprehensive about the prospect as he is used to welcoming young people to his house after having four sons, all in their 20s, all bring their friends round.

Linker has no idea who will end up living with him or where they will be from but he will reportedly need to be interviewed and have a home visit from the charity before his application is approved.

The Match of the Day host told the Mirror: "I have had so much connection with refugees over the last couple of years.

"I have met scores of young refugees through football schemes and they are genuinely lovely kids and they appreciate any help they can get.

"I'm sure it will be fine. I have been thinking of doing something like that for a while. My kids are all grown up so I've got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then I'm more than happy to do so. Why not?"

Read more: Fisherman explains why he helps migrants in Channel

The pundit has repeatedly been critical of the UK Government's handling of migrant crossings in the English Channel.

Last month, he described the response as "heartless and completely without empathy" and hinted he was willing to house a refugee after sharing the screenshot of an email with Refugees at Home.

It came after Tory MP Lee Anderson accused the former footballer of "virtue signalling" and suggested he should house "the next boat of illegal immigrants".

Lineker told the Mirror "we owe" it to refugees to help them out and that "most people" are, at some point in their ancestry, descended from refugees.

"They have given so much to this country and still continue to do so in terms of the jobs they do which we have witnessed during the pandemic in the NHS, carers and key workers," he said.

Read more: David Lammy calls for British compassion for refugees and migrants

Read more: Banksy funds boat to rescue refugees crossing the Mediterranean

The interview came on the day a record-breaking number of migrants reached the UK on Wednesday, according to Home Office data.

At least 409 people crossed the Channel in a flurry of small boats on Wednesday, the most in a single day, with hundreds being intercepted mid-route and others managing to reach land themselves.

This tally is nearly double the last record high which was set on 6 August when 235 people made the crossing.

More than 5,600 migrants have now made similar journeys to the UK this year, prompting Boris Johnson to warn Parliament that Britain is a "target and magnet" for people traffickers.

He has also vowed to change the law to help ease the crisis.