Gary Lineker: broadcaster challenges ‘dangerously provocative’ claims made by Tory MP

Gary Lineker has described accusations that he called northern voters “racist bigots” as “outrageous and dangerously provocative” (Photo: Marc Atkins/AFP via Getty Images)Gary Lineker has described accusations that he called northern voters “racist bigots” as “outrageous and dangerously provocative” (Photo: Marc Atkins/AFP via Getty Images)
Gary Lineker has described accusations that he called northern voters “racist bigots” as “outrageous and dangerously provocative” (Photo: Marc Atkins/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
In a recent interview, Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis said new legislation on small boats had "upset all the right people in the right places"

Gary Lineker has described accusations that he called northern voters “racist bigots” as “outrageous and dangerously provocative”.

The former footballer, who was reinstated as host of Match Of The Day (MOTD) on Monday after a brief suspension, sparked a row about impartiality, when he took a stand against language used in the government's new Illegal Migration Bill. Lineker was subsequently asked to “step back” from the popular football highlights show, prompting a boycott by his fellow MOTD pundits and commentators.

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BBC director-general Tim Davie has since apologised and reinstated him, but announced a review of social media guidelines at the broadcaster. Lineker “will abide by the editorial guidelines” until the review is complete.

The broadcaster took to Twitter once again on Wednesdaym in response to comments made by Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis. During an interview with Channel 4 News, Gullis, speaking about the recent legislation on small boats, said: “(It’s) certainly tough and upset all the right people in the right places as far as I’m concerned.

“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," he said. “Those are the people I don’t care [about] upsetting, because those are the people who want to call people up here racist bigots, Nazis, like Gary Lineker has done.”

Responding to the clip, another Twitter user wrote: “I don’t think Gary Lineker has actually directly called Red Wall voters ‘Nazis’ Mr Gullis.” Lineker also replied, writing: “No he hasn’t and never would. This is outrageous and dangerously provocative.”

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and House Secretary Suella Braverman unveiled their proposed new Illegal Migration Bill last week, which would detain, remove and ban asylum seekers from re-entry if they arrived in the UK through illegal means.

The aim was to "stop the boats", referring to small boats used to ferry people across the English Channel, where they could then seek amnesty. Lineker has famously hosted a number of refugees in his own home.

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