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Gary Lineker – latest: BBC talks with presenter ‘moving in right direction’ as disruption continues

According to BBC News, there are hopes a resolution will be reached soon but not all issues are ‘fully resolved’

Martha McHardy,Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Thursday 16 March 2023 09:20 GMT
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Downing Street brands Gary Lineker’s criticism of asylum policy ‘unacceptable’

Talks between BBC and Gary Lineker are believed to be “moving in the right direction” after a second day of disruption to the corporation’s sports programming.

There is “growing confidence” that the former England player will return to host the popular BBC show, according to reports,

According to BBC News, there are hopes a resolution will be reached soon but not all issues are “fully resolved.”

The Women’s Super League Chelsea v Manchester United game on BBC Two kicked off with no pre-match presentation and no pundits tonight.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s football phone-in programme 606 will also not air again tonight, according to Sky News.

Mr Lineker, who has hosted Match of the Day for almost a quarter of a century, has been embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum policy with 1930s Germany.

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Gary Lineker slams Tory MP for ‘outrageous’ Nazi claim comments

Gary Lineker has fired back at a Conservative MP who falsely suggested that the BBC presenter had called so-called “red wall” voters in the north and Midlands “Nazis” and “racist bigots”.

Jonathan Gullis, Tory MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, said Rishi Sunak’s planned small boats crackdown had “upset all the right people in the right places”.

The right-winger told Channel 4 News: “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.”

Mr Gullis added: “Those are the people I don’t care upsetting, because those are the people who want to call people up here racist bigots, Nazis – like Gary Lineker has done.”

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Gary Lineker slams Tory MP for ‘outrageous’ Nazi claim comments

Jonathan Gullis falsely claims BBC star called red wall voters ‘Nazis’ and ‘racist bigots’

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 14:35
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Gary Lineker had a ‘special arrangement’ with the BBC to tweet about refugees, says agent

Gary Lineker believed he had a “special arrangement” with the BBC allowing him to make comments about refugees and the small boats crisis, his agent has claimed.

Jon Holmes represents the football presenter, described the row as descending into “shambles” despite efforts to have “everyone calm down.”

He has claimed that his client believed he had an understanding with Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, that he could make public statements on certain issues.

My colleague Thomas Kingsley has the latest on the Lineker-BBC row:

Gary Lineker had a ‘special arrangement’ with the BBC to tweet about refugees

Match of the Day star BBC thought he had arrangement allowing him to make comments about refugees and the small boats crisis, agent claims

Emily Atkinson16 March 2023 09:20
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Lord condemned for saying ‘sack Lineker and replace with a woman at half the price'

Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright should be sacked from Match of the Day and replaced with women “at half the price”, a former BBC governor has said.

The suggestion from Lord Young of Norwood Green sparked outcry from his own Labour benches in the House of Lords.

However, he insisted he did not believe the corporation should be paying Mr Lineker’s £1.35 million salary or Mr Shearer’s £450,000 sum.

He told peers in Westminster: “I tend to echo the view that was made about Gary Lineker and his salary.

“He’s like many people in that position in the past who believe they are irreplaceable.

“You’ll remember that Jeremy Clarkson and the Top Gear team thought that they were irreplaceable and needless to say that Top Gear thrives just as successfully without them.

“So, if I had a solution, and advice that I have conveyed in written form to the director-general, it would be to get rid of the old boys’ club, namely Lineker, Shearer and Wright, replace it with at least one or two women, which we could probably do at half the price and they’d do twice as good a job.”

Several peers, including from his own party, heckled Lord Young after this comment, with one shouting: “Half the price?”

Lord Young responded: “I don’t believe that we should be paying those kinds of prices to presenters.”

He added that, if the director-general did fire the Match of the Day team and replace them with lower-paid presenters, they could “save the BBC Singers, which provide a really important contribution to the country.”

Lord Young of Norwood Green
Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 19:25
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Gary Lineker 'thought he had special agreement with BBC boss to tweet about migrant issues'

Gary Lineker’s agent has claimed the presenter believed he had a “special agreement” with his BBC bosses to tweet about migration issues.

Jon Holmes, who is also former chair of Leicester City FC, has written about the Match of the Day star’s tumultuous week for the New Statesman.

“Gary takes a passionate interest in refugees and immigration and, as he saw it, had a special agreement with Tim Davie, the BBC’s director-general, to tweet about these issues,” Mr Holmes said.

“When I started getting calls about Gary from the BBC, we just wanted everyone to calm down. But the storm was raging.

“Gary’s initial contact with various BBC staff hadn’t produced a result, so he said: ‘Jon, sort it out’.”

Mr Holmes goes on to explain he had told the corporation that taking Mr Lineker off air “would not be helpful” and that the guidelines needed clarifying.

“By the time I got back to Nottinghamshire, the whole thing had collapsed into a shambles,” he added. “....It was quite a week.”

Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 18:30
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'Nazi' references: BBC sportscaster's tweet revives debate

The references seem endless, and they can come from anywhere. In recent days, Pope Francis compared Nicaragua‘s repression of Catholics to Hitler’s rule in Germany. In Britain, a BBC sportscaster likened the nation’s asylum policy to 1930s Germany, resulting in his brief suspension and a national uproar.

For Holocaust and anti-Nazi scholars and organizations, the two sentiments were understandable — but concerning. Invoking Hitler and Nazi Germany, they warn, often serves to revive a familiar and unwelcome line of argument.

More on this story here:

'Nazi' references: BBC sportscaster's tweet revives debate

The references seem endless, and they can come from anywhere

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 17:15
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Ian Wright says ‘heads have got to roll’ after BBC management caused ‘hot mess’ over Gary Lineker row

Ian Wright has said “heads have got to roll” after managers at the BBC caused a “hot mess” at the weekend by asking Gary Lineker to step away from Match Of The Day.

The former England footballer joined fellow pundits – including Alan Shearer and Alex Scott – and the corporation’s presenters and reporters to walk out in solidarity with Lineker during the impartiality row.

Football coverage on BBC TV and radio was hit before the BBC on Monday apologised and reinstated Lineker as host of MOTD.

Charlotte McLaughlin reports:

Ian Wright says ‘heads have got to roll’ after BBC Gary Lineker row

The former England footballer joined fellow pundits – including Alan Shearer and Alex Scott – to walkout in solidarity with Lineker

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 16:45
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Faith in BBC director genera; ‘at all time low'

BBC journalists have been “forced to strike” by proposed cuts to local radio, former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.

Mr McDonnell, secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) cross-party parliamentary group, was among those on a picket line outside Broadcasting House on Wednesday.

A union official added that faith in BBC director-general Tim Davie is at an “all-time low” after the suspension and reinstatement of presenter Gary Lineker over tweets criticising the Government.

The NUJ said about 1,000 journalists are expected to walk out across the day, as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers his Spring budget, prompting disruption to the local TV and radio schedule in England.

The strike means many 1.30pm and 6.30pm regional TV news programmes across England are not being broadcast. Programming in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remains unaffected.

(PA)
Sam Rkaina15 March 2023 16:40
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Match of the Day theme tune drowns out BBC interview outside parliament after Gary Lineker row

The Match of the Day theme tune interrupted a BBC News interview outside parliament on Wednesday.

As Tory MP Harriett Baldwin spoke about the Budget, she was drowned out by the iconic music from the famous football highlights programme.

It was blasted out around Westminster following the controversy surrounding the BBC and presenter Gary Lineker, who was told to step aside from last weekend’s Match of the Day after tweeting criticism about the government’s asylum policy.

More on this story from Oliver Browning here:

Match of the Day theme tune drowns out live BBC interview after Gary Lineker row

The Match of the Day theme tune interrupted a BBC News interview outside parliament on Wednesday (15 March). As Tory MP Harriett Baldwin spoke about the Budget, she was drowned out by the iconic music from the famous football highlights programme. It was blasted out around Westminster following the controversy surrounding the BBC and presenter Gary Lineker, who was told to step aside from last weekend’s Match of the Day after tweeting criticism about the government’s asylum policy. Click here to sign up for our newsletters.

Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 16:15
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ICYMI | Tory MP Jonathan Gullis falsely claims Lineker called red wall voters ‘Nazis’

Tory MP Jonathan Gullis falsely claims Lineker called red wall voters ‘Nazis’
Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 15:45
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Keir Starmer questions Rishi Sunak on Gary Lineker controversy

Rishi Sunak must “stand up to his snowflake MPs waging war on free speech” following the Gary Lineker row, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader sought assurances that Conservative MPs or others connected to the party did not lobby the BBC to “effectively cancel” Match of the Day last weekend.

Mr Sunak accused Sir Keir of the “usual political opportunism” and insisted he cares about the integrity and impartiality of the country’s institutions, including the BBC.

He also welcomed the return of Match Of The Day this weekend.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “Last summer the Prime Minister claimed he wanted to protect free speech and put a stop to no platforming.

“So how concerned was he by last week’s campaign by Tory MPs to cancel a broadcaster?”

Mr Sunak replied: “As I said at the time, the issues between Gary Lineker and the BBC were for them to resolve and I’m very glad that they did and we can look forward to watching Match Of The Day again on our screens.”

PMQs: Keir Starmer questions Rishi Sunak on Gary Lineker controversy
Emily Atkinson15 March 2023 15:15

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