Shamir Shah, BBC chairman elect, says Gary Lineker broke rules
Controversial Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker is “damaging the reputation of the BBC”, the Corporation’s new incoming chairman has warned.
Grilled by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dr Samir Shah was critical of the woke former footballer who has had numerous run-ins with Tory politicians because of his outspoken comments on X (formerly Twitter).
Just this week, Lineker was criticised for signing a letter calling on Rishi Sunak to scrap the Rwanda deportation scheme for illegal migrants and then went on a social media rampage attacking a number of Conservative MPs personally.
Previously, Lineker was briefly suspended for likening the Conservatives to Nazis over attempts to take back control of the borders.
And his repeated behaviour has put into serious question the BBC’s commitment to impartiality and ability to enforce its own rules.
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READ MORE: Tory MP Jonathan Gullis issues challenge to Gary Lineker in Rwanda row
Grilled on the issue of Lineker by the committee’s Conservative chairwoman Caroline Dinenage, Dr Shah admitted that Lineker had broken the rules.
He said that Lineker’s behaviour “was not helpful for Gary Lineker, the BBC or the cause he supports. What happens is that it becomes another story of the BBC and Gary Lineker”.
He went on to point out that non-news presenters are allowed to expect their opinions but there is some guidance on “the manner and civility of it”.
Dr Shah said: “As far as I am aware the signing of the letter did not breach the guidelines. I do think, however, that the more recent tweet that Mr Lineker in which he identified some Tory politicians does on the face of it break those guidelines.
“I’m not sure how egregious it is but it does. And I would imagine the BBC is now looking into that and considering its response.”
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He later warned that the issue with Lineker and others “is damaging the reputation of the BBC to be constantly in this round of not just this particular presenter” and suggested that the guidelines needed to be reviewed.
The response was welcomed by Stoke North MP Jonathan Gullis, one of the Conservative politicians that Lineker had attacked via his Twitter account.
He posted: “I appreciate the incoming Chairman’s view. I will await to see if any action will be taken by [Director General] Tim Davie.”
The MP had earlier challenged Lineker to stand as a candidate against him in the next general election.
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