What did Gary Lineker say? Why his Nazi comments have become hugely controversial

13 March 2023, 13:31

Gary Lineker alongside home secretary Suella Braverman
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker sparked fury among Tory MPs. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

Gary Lineker has sparked fury among a number of Tory MPs after appearing to compare Home Office policy to Nazi Germany.

Gary Lineker and his recent Nazi comments have become a huge talking point for MPs, broadcasters and more after he aired his opinions on the new immigration laws.

In the latest impartibility scandal to rock the BBC, the former footballer was temporarily removed from his Match of the Day job following a tweet comparing the new asylum seeker bill to that of Germany in the 1930s.

Refusing to apologise or back down from his opinion, Lineker has the full support of his fellow presenters who refused to take over the presenting role in his absence.

So what did Mr Lineker, 62, actually say? He commented on a Twitter video posted on Home Secretary Suella Braverman's Twitter profile, in which she unveiled Government plans to stop small boats from crossing the Channel.

“Good heavens, this is beyond awful,” he wrote.

Responding to the former England international, another Twitter user said his comment was “out of order”, adding that it is “easy to pontificate when it doesn’t affect you”.

Read more: How much is Gary Lineker paid for Match of the Day?

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn defends Gary Lineker but says focus has shifted from 'disgraceful' migrant bill

Mr Lineker responded: “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?”

Since the scandal unfolded, Lineker has been reinstated as the presenter of Match of the Day in a historic turn of events.

The BBC issued an apology to viewers and to presenters, and announced a review of its social media policy.

Lineker added on Twitter: "After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity."Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming. I have been presenting sport on the BBC for almost 3 decades and am immeasurably proud to work with the best and fairest broadcaster in the world.

Lineker's origianal comments sparked fury from Tory MPs, who called on the corporation to take action.

Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson wrote: “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.”

Gary Lineker during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay match
Gary Lineker isn't afraid to air his political views on social media. Picture: Getty

Jonathan Gullis urged the BBC to “stand up” to Mr Lineker and “remind him his job is to talk football, not politics”.

Craig Mackinlay said the Match of the Day host's comments were a “step too far” and that he should be sacked.

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."

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