'Outrageous': Gary Lineker in fresh Tory row as he hits out at accusations he called northern voters 'racist and Nazis'

15 March 2023, 09:01 | Updated: 15 March 2023, 09:03

Gary Lineker is in a fresh spat with a Tory
Gary Lineker is in a fresh spat with a Tory. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Will Taylor

Gary Lineker is in a fresh spat with the Conservatives after he blasted accusations from an MP that he called voters from northern England "racist bigots" and "Nazis".

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The Match of the Day presenter, newly-reinstated after his row over his refugee comments, branded Jonathan Gullis's comments "outrageous and dangerously provocative".

Mr Gullis was defending Rishi Sunak's plans to stop migrant crossings when he took aim at Mr Lineker.

"[It's] certainly tough and upset all the right people in the right places as far as I'm concerned," he told Channel 4 News.

"Let's be clear, when I talk about upsetting people I'm talking about the Twitterati, the Wokerati of North Islington, those champagne socialists who pontificate all day.

Read more: Gary Lineker’s son receives death threat of being ‘burned at the stake’ in wake of presenter’s Twitter furore

"Those are the people I don't care upsetting, because those are the people who want to call people up here racist bigots, Nazis, like Gary Lineker has done."

A Twitter user said he did not think the ex-England international described voters in the "red wall" as "Nazis".

Mr Lineker replied on Twitter: "No he hasn't and never would. This is outrageous and dangerously provocative."

The former Leicester and Barcelona player is fresh off the back of a row within the BBC after he compared Government policy and language to that of Germany in the 1930s, leading to critics accusing him of breaking impartiality expected from the corporation.

He was asked to step back from presenting Match of the Day on Saturday, which saw fellow pundits and commentators boycott the show and its Sunday edition over the weekend.

Read more: BBC's climbdown is a ‘5-0 win’ for Gary Lineker after its 'ridiculous' stance on his migration tweets, former chief says

Instead, the BBC showed highlights packages of the Premier League games without any presenters, analysis and commentary.

The row was resolved when the BBC said it would review social media guidance.

Mr Lineker has also updated his Twitter profile picture to include him walking past a quote by George Orwell outside the BBC.

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear," it says.

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