Starmer blasts BBC for not remaining impartial in Gary Lineker saga

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused the BBC of “caving in” to Tory MPs in the Gary Lineker row, saying the corporation’s position is “the opposite of impartial”. The Labour leader said the BBC had got it “badly wrong” after Lineker, 62, became embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany on Twitter.

Speaking after Lineker was pulled from MOTD, Sir Keir told broadcasters at Welsh Labour’s conference in Llandudno: “The BBC is not acting impartially by caving in to Tory MPs who are complaining about Gary Lineker.

“They got this one badly wrong and now they’re very, very exposed.

“As is the Government, because at the heart of this is the Government’s failure on the asylum system. And rather than take responsibility for the mess they’ve made, the Government is casting around to blame anybody else – Gary Lineker, the BBC, civil servants, the ‘blob’.

“What they should be doing is standing up, accepting they’ve broken the asylum system, and telling us what they’re going to do to actually fix it, not whingeing on about Gary Lineker.”

Lineker has been under fire after he compared the Government’s new migration policy to the tactics of Nazi Germany on social media. 

The Match of the Day host shared his thoughts on Government’s Illegal Migration Bill on Twitter. In a retweet of a Twitter video from the Home Office featuring Home Secretary Suella Braverman, he wrote: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”

In a separate tweet, the former footballer said: “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?”

In his refusal to remove the tweet, Mr Lineker said he will continue to speak up for the “voiceless”. He tweeted: “Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree.”

The BBC’s schedule was ripped up today as several more presenters and reporters withdrew in solidarity with Lineker after the Match Of The Day presenter was stood down on Friday.

Neither Football Focus nor Final Score survived on BBC One, while 5 Live’s radio coverage was radically altered throughout the day.

Former England internationals Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced on Friday their boycott of this weekend’s Match Of The Day.

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