Unrepentant Gary Linekar has doubled down on his criticism of Home Secretary Suella Braverman as he questioned if the government’s migration policy ‘will actually be legal’.
The Match of the Day presenter returned to the controversial political issue after he was taken off air in March for refusing to back down when he compared the Government’s language on asylum seekers to 1930s Germany.
The 62-year-old called reaction to his tweet ‘disproportionate’ and said he was ‘never overly worried’ about his suspension in an explosive interview with Channel 4.
He said that he will continue to speak out, adding: ‘If I am told to not do something it will drive me to do it even further.’
The pundit and crisp frontman even suggested that the government’s migration approach may not be legal.
The 62-year-old (left) received a ‘sport and human rights award’ from Amnesty International, the humanitarian organisation, which had described him as a ‘staunch advocate for the rights of refugees and migrants’. Pictured with Croatian former international footballerand UEFA Chief of Football Zvonimir Boban (right)
The Match Of The Day presenter was taken off air in March after refusing to back down after comparing the Government’s language on asylum seekers to 1930s Germany
He said: ‘I disagree with their policy. I think most people do. I don’t know whether it will actually be even legal.
‘We’ll see if anyone ever does actually go there. But for me it’s more about the language that’s sometimes used generally across the board.
‘You know, when they use words like “criminals”, and “rapists” and “invasions” and “swarms”.
‘All I was asking for was a little bit of kindness. Getting on to certain politicians is where I do understand where the lines are.’
It came as the ex-England footballer received a ‘sport and human rights award’ from humanitarian organisation Amnesty International , which had described him as a ‘staunch advocate for the rights of refugees and migrants’.
He was accused of going on a ‘self-congratulatory fest’ to Italy after his Nazi jibe at home secretary Suella Braverman.
It sparked a major crisis for the BBC and a humiliating climbdown as Lineker agreed a deal which allowed him to tweet about refugees and climate change.
He later denied that he would have been suspended had his tweet been in line with government policy and said it is ‘inevitable’ that the BBC is influenced by the government.
Responding to a question about whether the Director General, Tim Davie’s, position was weakened by the high-profile clash, he added: ‘I don’t think so – he responded to the way events came through and in the end he kind of turned things around, listened and I think overall I don’t see him in a weaker position.
‘It’s an incredibly difficult job. Impartiality is really tricky at the BBC and I think it’s an issue that is almost unresolvable.’
Mrs Braverman said she felt that Mr Lineker’s comments were ‘disappointing’
He was accused of going on a ‘self-congratulatory fest’ to Italy after his Nazi jibe at home secretary Suella Braverman. Pictured: Gary Lineker received his award in Rome alongside footballer Natali Shaheen
His tweet sparked a major crisis for the BBC and a humiliating climbdown as Lineker agreed a deal which allowed him to tweet about refugees and climate change
The decision to accept the award provoked a backlash from Tory MPs earlier this week, who said the former footballer needed to choose whether he wanted to be a BBC star or an activist.
After receiving his award today, the BBC’s top-paid presenter, who earns £1.35 million a year, threatened to ignite a fresh row by weighing in on the stunts of eco groups such Just Stop Oil (JSO).
Hours earlier, the Metropolitan Police revealed that since April 24, there had been 78 so-called slow marches on London’s roads, 60 of which led to protesters being removed. There had been 45 arrests in the same period.
Lineker told Channel 4 News: ‘I think it is very worrying that we lock people up that are actually trying to make sure we have some kind of future.
‘I understand why people get upset because it’s a disruptive demonstration, but history tells you that the only demonstrations that really work are disruptive ones, so it’s a tough one.
‘It’s not a case of blaming our Government for not doing enough on climate change, it’s the whole world.’
The presenter then called for the world to ‘find a way out’ of the ‘over-reliance on fossil fuels’.
After one social media user – called Paul – said the only award he deserved was being a: ‘Virtue-Signalling World Champion’ – the unrepentant star snapped back: ‘Your bitterness makes it even sweeter’
Since the action began on April 24, 78 marches have taken place in the capital. Pictured: Met officers during a Just Stop Oil protest
New figures show 11,000 Met officer shifts have been lost in the last month to policing the demonstrations
Scotland Yard had earlier revealed the cost of policing the persistent stunts of JSO – which have led to angry confrontations with motorists – has cost more than £3 million. Pictured: Protest on May 22
He continued: ‘We should all be trying to turn governments on it, not just relying on a few people that, actually, do stuff knowing that they’ll probably be locked up and I kind of admire that in a way.
‘I know it angers a lot of people, but that’s kind of what they want because it’s the only way it gets publicised.
‘I think, if we manage to save the human race, in 50 years or 100 years’ time, they’ll look back on people like that (XR and JSO) and Greta Thunberg and people like that, that have made a real difference and they might well be the heroes.’
After one social media user – called Paul – said the only award he deserved was being a: ‘Virtue-Signalling World Champion’ – the unrepentant star snapped back: ‘Your bitterness makes it even sweeter.’
Scotland Yard had earlier revealed the cost of policing the persistent stunts of JSO – which have led to angry confrontations with motorists – has cost more than £3 million.
On Monday, Tory MPs demanded Lineker consider his position at the BBC as he prepared to fly to Italy to accept the award.
Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet, said: ‘It is another self-congratulatory fest of one woke group to another woke activist.’
Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford, said: ‘Gary Lineker needs to decide if he wants to be a politician or a public broadcaster. He can’t do both.
He was accused of going on a ‘self-congratulatory fest’ to Italy after his Nazi jibe at home secretary Suella Braverman
The 62-year-old called reaction to his tweet ‘disproportionate’ and said he was ‘never overly worried’ about his suspension in an explosive interview with Channel 4
‘Yet again he thinks that the rules on being a public broadcaster don’t apply to him. He wants his cake and to eat it too.
‘He wants his big salary from being a public broadcaster and then jet off to Rome to join his political mates, well he can’t have it both ways.’
During the ceremony, Lineker said the experience of receiving the award was ‘strange and surreal’.
He also addressed the political furore that led to him being taken off air, telling the ceremony : ‘What I was trying to say was that I think we need to be careful with the language we use towards people who have to flee their countries, because of persecution, because of war and possibly climate change, and I think we need to show them compassion, empathy and kindness.’
Lineker received his award alongside Palestinian footballer Natali Shaheen.
However, Lineker soaked up praise for his championing of refugees in a country led by prime minister Giorgia Meloni who has warned of ‘an invasion’ of migrants and refugees.
Earlier this year, she unveiled new policies toughening the country’s approach to migrants seeking asylum and introducing harsher punishments for people smugglers.
Amnesty International, a human rights organisation, has previously called for Lineker to be allowed to speak his mind on refugees, despite his interventions persistently leading to the BBC being accused of bias.
Sir John Hayes, chairman of the common sense group of MPs, added: ‘This award is a matter of regret, but also rather pathetic.
Lineker’s inflammatory tweet compared ministers’ language over migration to ‘Germany in the 30s’
The pundit and crisp frontman even suggested that the government’s migration approach may not be legal
‘Perhaps it is time for Gary to hang up his microphone as he did his boots long ago.’
Amnesty International said its ‘sport and human rights award’, now in its fifth year, is part of a collaboration between the group and the Italian organisation Sport4Society.
The award is designed to ‘highlight outstanding contributions to human rights in the field of sport’.
Earlier this year, Lineker sent a tweet in response to the Government’s Bill stopping migrants arriving across the Channel in small boats from being able to claim asylum.
He said the policy used ‘language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s’.
Lineker was taken off air but after other presenters also refused to appear on football shows in solidarity, he was allowed to return.
The BBC have been contacted to comment.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12121019/Outspoken-Gary-Lineker-claims-eco-mob-remembered-heroes.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Unrepentant Gary Lineker doubles down on criticism of Suella Braverman