UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has defended her policy regarding a crackdown on illegal migration and refused to withdraw in the aftermath of Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker making a Nazi remark about the policy. She explained that she had been subjected to “the most grotesque slurs” even after having raised reasonable concerns. Braverman went on to say that she would not be “hectored by out-of-touch lefties” and would continue to call out accusations of bigotry that were, in her view, spurious. The British people had backed her approach to immigration, Braverman added.
Match of the Day pundit Gary Lineker was taken off air following a tweet that compared the language used to introduce a new Government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany. However, BBC Director-General Tim Davie apologised for the chaos that resulted when presenters and pundits walked out in solidarity with Lineker. Further, he acknowledged that the grey areas in the corporation’s social media guidance had attracted criticism and that there was a need to review social media guidelines, with a particular emphasis on freelancers. The director-general confirmed that Lineker would return to Match of the Day on Saturday, insisting that editorial guidelines would be followed until the review was complete.
Writing in Twitter, Lineker described recent events as “surreal,” adding that he was happy that a compromise had been reached. He went on to suggest that there was no comparison between his issue and “having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away.” Some have claimed that the BBC was bullied into making the decision by the UK government. Former BBC director-general Greg Dyke noted that Lineker had been offered the very solution that was eventually accepted before he walked out, leading to the perception that he had used the government to achieve his way. Labour leader Keir Starmer has also called for an independent inquiry into the impartiality of the BBC.