Gary Lineker accuses Boris Johnson of ‘nauseating xenophobia’

Former England and Leicester player criticises Prime Minister over stance on immigration

Samuel Lovett@samueljlovett
Monday 09 December 2019 14:41
Boris Johnson says migrants should not treat UK as their own country

Gary Lineker has accused Boris Johnson of “nauseating xenophobia” after the Prime Minister vowed to stop EU migrants from treating Britain “as if it’s part of their own country”.

The former England and Leicester player is an open critic of Mr Johnson and the Conservatives, and regularly voices his opposition to Brexit, having last year attended a London rally campaigning for a second referendum.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister told Sky News that he promised to reduce net migration and introduce a points-based system, similar to the one deployed in Australia, if returned to Downing Street.

“You’ve seen quite a large number of people coming in from the whole of the EU — 580 million population — able to treat the UK as though it’s basically part of their own country,” he said, “and the problem with that is there has been no control at all and I don’t think that is democratically accountable.”

Quoting the remarks, Mr Lineker tweeted in response: “This is where we’re at now. Nauseating xenophobia.”

This follows the BBC pundit’s recent criticism of the Conservatives’ plans to reinvest in grassroots football and “bring football home”, which he described as “b******t”.

“I’m sticking to football during the election, but this is football and it’s b******t,” he wrote on Twitter. “Hundreds of millions have been cut from local authority sporting budgets. Carry on.”

Over the weekend, Gary Neville joined Mr Lineker in criticising the British Prime Minister after a Manchester City fan was filmed allegedly racially abusing a number of United’s black players at the Etihad Stadium.

The ex-England and United defender said Mr Johnson’s stance on immigration helped fuelled racism within football and wider society.

“You’re watching the Prime Minister’s debate where he is talking about migration to this country and people coming into this country having to have certain levels. It fuels it all the time,” Mr Neville said in the wake of the Manchester derby.

“Essentially, it’s something that has got worse over the last few years in this country and not just in football.

“It is rampant across this country. We judge the Bulgarians who came in, almost like a hatchet job, those 30, 40 fans from Bulgaria who came in and were racist towards the England players in that match.

“It’s happening not just in Bulgaria, it’s happening in our country, in our league.

“We always judge other countries with how they deal with racism, like you say the incident yesterday in Italy was ridiculous and horrific, but we’re poor at dealing with it ourselves.

“It continues to keep coming back and back and it won’t go away until the correct punishments are handed out.”

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