GARY Lineker's fiery criticism of the Government's Rwanda policy has reignited a BBC impartiality row – before being told "stick" to TV.
Former England footballer turned pundit Lineker was among a group of celebrities urging ministers to scrap their Rwanda scheme and come up with a "fair new plan for refugees".
In the letter, co-ordinated by campaign coalition Together With Refugees, they branded Britain's refugee system "ever-more uncaring, chaotic and costly", and said asylum policies are not working.
Other signatories included Succession star Brian Cox, women's rights campaigner Helen Pankhurst, Hotel Rwanda actor Sophie Okonedo and television chef Big Zuu.
But Cabinet Minister Grant Shapps said this morning Lineker should stick to presenting football.
When asked if the Match of the Day host should continue expressing political views, Defence Secretary Mr Shapps told Times Radio: "He's been through all of this before. The BBC have told him he shouldn't do this type of thing but still it continues.
READ MORE ON POLITICS
Rishi Sunak starts make-or-break week with eight-hour Covid inquiry grilling
Robert Jenrick accuses Rishi Sunak of misleading public over Rwanda plan
"The point I would make to Mr Lineker is: what is right or moral about having people trafficked dangerously across the English Channel, losing their lives at sea, illegally entering the country? That is not a civilised, morally correct thing to do."
He added: "I just fundamentally disagree with him. What happens to him next is up to the BBC.
"As far as I see it, they have issued previous warnings to him, so it'll be interesting to see what they do and say at this point.
"I know millions of people watch him for his football commentary and TV presenting, I would have thought it's better to stick with that."
Lineker had already sparked an impartiality row in March after saying the Government rhetoric on immigration was similar to that of 1930s' Germany.
But after a review, the Beeb decided to allow its top stars to share their own views on social media and only ruled they should stop short of political campaigning.
Lineker said about the letter: “We need a new system that reflects the will of the British people who have opened their homes, donated and volunteered in their local communities.
“That’s why I’m backing this new campaign, because fair really can begin here.”
Most read in The Sun
touch and go
I’m A Celeb fans cringe at Nigel Farage’s awkward reunion with his girlfriend
I’m A Celeb in on-air blunder as producer appears in camp as Nigel is axed
I’m A Celebrity’s Danielle Harold grows close to Pete Wicks during boozy party
COP CHIEF TRAGEDY
Lancashire police chief who led Nicola Bulley search dies suddenly at 50
Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson told the Daily Mail: "For once in his life, Gary's absolutely right – we do need a system that reflects the will of the British people. What the people want is to stop the boats and to tell overpaid crisp salesmen to put a sock in it.
"Alongside cracking down on illegal migration, we need another robust system which keeps Lineker as far away from the public as possible, to give us all a rest from his Left-wing, out-of-touch nonsense."
The Beeb row comes as the Prime Minister is trying to convince his own backbenchers to support his Rwanda Bill, with both the right of the party and the One Nation faction set to announce whether they support it later on today.
The Bill seeks to declare Rwanda a safe country and also empowers ministers to ignore parts of the Human Rights Act.
Mr Shapps told Sky News Home Office modelling suggests that of the current cases which are challenged successfully, "99.5% of them would not be challenged once this is in place".
Source: Read Full Article