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Gary Lineker insists his tweets on Government policy were ‘factually accurate’

06 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Gary Lineker, image by Ian Walton, PA Images

Gary Lineker has said he still believes his tweet about the Government’s “cruel” asylum policy was “factually accurate”.

The Match Of The Day presenter told Alastair Campbell, during an interview for Men’s Health UK magazine, that he stood by his comments.

The BBC has launched an independent review of its social media guidance for freelancers following an impartiality row prompted by Lineker’s tweets.

Lineker was taken off air by the broadcaster after posting a tweet in which he said the language used by the Government to promote its asylum plans was not dissimilar to 1930s Germany.

He later returned to his Match Of The Day presenting role following a boycott by top on-air talent.

As part of Men’s Health UK’s Talking Heads interview series, Lineker said: “When I sent that tweet, it honestly never even crossed my mind that it would lead to where it went.

“I’ve worked with refugees’ charities for years.

“So, when I saw the Suella Braverman film, I said I thought it was pretty awful.

“Then the ‘stick to football’ people weighed in and I replied to one of them, just saying there was no massive influx, the UK takes far fewer refugees than other European countries, this is a cruel policy, and the language used in the debate reminds us of the debate in Germany in the 1930s.

“I think that is factually accurate.”


Lineker said that when new social media guidance was introduced by director-general Tim Davie in October 2020, he agreed that he would not stop “occasionally” tweeting about two issues – climate change and refugees.

“I wasn’t prepared to back down on that, especially as I felt and still feel that what I tweeted was fair and true,” he added.

“I wasn’t abusive, I wasn’t saying she (Braverman) was a Nazi.

“I talked about the use of words like ‘invasion’ and ‘swarms’ and ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists’, which I think we should be very careful about because it has real-life consequences.”

Lineker said that after he had been taken off air by the BBC he found it “hard to see how it got resolved unless they backed down”.

“And I think the key moment was when the other presenters and then the commentators made it clear they wouldn’t go on if I was taken off air,” he added.

Addressing the broadcaster’s director-general, he said: “To be fair to Tim Davie, he admitted they had got it wrong and sorted it out.

“I love the BBC and I was very glad to be back on air and talking about football again.”

Campbell previously spoke to Lineker about the issue for his podcast with former Tory MP Rory Stewart, The Rest Is Politics: Leading, which is produced by Lineker’s own Goalhanger Podcasts company.

– Gary Lineker was speaking to Men’s Health UK Talking Heads columnist, Alastair Campbell in an interview available on the magazine’s website now.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Good for Gary, shame about Campbell, Blair’s spinner of lies. It is hard to step round the English establishment without treading in poo…

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
1 year ago

Being “factually accurate” is an affront to most Tories.

They cannot face the truth.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
1 year ago

“…the UK takes far fewer refugees than other European countries”. Gary Lineker needs to check his facts, maybe starting with Ireland, Spain and Portugal! We need to separate genuine refugees from illegal immigrants instead of using this debate for political reasons. What’s the point in having a system where foreigners have to apply for UK visas if they can cheat the system by jumping on a boat? If I were a genuine applicant I wouldn’t be happy if I had to wait months or years if others jumped the queue. The money spent on keeping the illiegal immigrants in hotels,… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago
Reply to  Iago Prydderch

Why do these far right trolls always hide behind made up names? A coward as well as a bigot 😉

Gareth Westacott
1 year ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Why do you call him ‘far right’ and ‘bigot’? He made some valid points using temperate language. Address yourself to them, and answer him in the same temperate manner, not resort to name-calling.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gareth Westacott
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Shakespeare’s villain might be a clue as to his character…

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