Tory MPs say BBC cannot allow Lineker back unless he ends tweets
Jeremy Hunt shares views on Gary Lineker tweet fallout
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Tory MPs have warned BBC bosses that they “must not fold” on Gary Lineker’s suspension until he makes a commitment to stp breaching impartiality rules. The Match of the Day presenter and former england footballer was suspended last week after he compared the government to Nazi Germany in the 1930s over its new Illegal Immigration Bill.
The row saw BBC sports programs over the weekend thrown into chaos as friends of Mr Lineker including Ian Wright and Alan Shearer refused to take part in Match of the Day and other shows.
And speaking to BBC Breakfast on Sunday morning, the director general of the BBC Tim Davie insisted: “I would like to see Gary Lineker return on air.
“We want to get the right outcome for this, we are working very hard to get that done.”
With pressure mounting from leftwing supporters of the millionaire presenter, who earns £1.3 million a year from his taxpayer funded job, there are concerns from Tory MPs from the influential Common Sense Group that the Corporation will not get any concessions.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the Common Sense Group of around 60 MPs, had authored a letter signed by most of his colleagues demanding an investigation of the Lineker incident and an apology from him and the BBC.
He told Express.co.uk that it would be “unacceptable” to give Mr Lineker his job back without even a public apology.
Mr Hunt said: “From what I can see it’s pretty clear Lineker broke BBC impartiality rules.
“What’s more his response since this issue blew up has been to deny any wrongdoing and to strongly suggest he has no intention of changing his social media use in future.
“It’s therefore incredibly important that the BBC do not fold on this matter.”
He went on: “This isn’t to do with free speech. Yes free speech is important.
“But it’s also important we accept that the highest paid employee of our tax payer funded state broadcaster accepts that they have responsibilities and duties when it comes to social media use.
“And comparing a popular and much needed Government Bill with Germany in the 1930s is clearly beyond the pale.”
Even Labour MPs like Emily Thornberry and Lloyd Russell-moyle said that Lineker had gone to far with his Nazi analogy.
But over the weekend Labour was demanding that Lineker was reinstated.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, whose husband is Jewish, and Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, whose children’s grandmother escaped the Holocaust, have spoken of their disappointment of Mr Lineker’s comments.
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More meetings are expected at the BBC over the controversy.
Mr Lineker has so far refused to apologise for his comments or commit to maintaining impartiality in his social media accounts which he claims are separate to his work with the BBC.
However, former Director General of the bBC Mark Thompson said that Lineker “was guilty of a technical breach of the rules” because he was a high profile presenter who represented the Corporation.
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