Gary Lineker long history of Twitter own goals and gaffes – revealed

Slamming Brexit, backing asylum seekers and crossing swords with BBC’s cricket correspondent: Gary Lineker’s long history of Twitter own goals and gaffes

  • Critics say the Match of the Day host has breached strict BBC impartiality rules
  • It comes after a string of politically-charged tweets by the former England ace 

Gary Lineker has once again found himself in hot water with the BBC over his outspoken political views – and is facing fresh calls to be sacked. 

The Match of the Day host’s anti-Tory tweets have ignited anger within the corporation, with critics saying they breach the BBC’s strict impartiality rules.

Now he faces an uncertain future, with BBC bosses wrestling with what to do about Lineker – their highest-paid star on £1.35 million a year – after he doubled down on remarks that likened the migrant crackdown to Nazi Germany. 

But amid calls for him to be fired, Lineker defiantly resumed tweeting about the politically-charged topic. He told his Twitter followers yesterday that he had never known such ‘love and support’ and said he would ‘continue to try and speak up’. 

It’s not the first time the former England ace has spoken out, having previously been slammed for raising his views over Brexit and illegal migrants, which have led to spats with BBC colleagues who said they would have been sacked for making such remarks. 

Now MailOnline looks back at Lineker’s string of gaffes and outbursts over the years. 

The corporation’s news staff were said to be ‘boiling’ with anger that the Match of the Day host’s (pictured) anti-Tory tweets flout strict impartiality rules that they have to obey

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) was slammed by Lineker over her measures to stop small boats illegally reaching the UK

March 7, 2023

He calls Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s measures to stop the small boats ‘beyond awful’ and ‘an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s…’ 

READ MORE: ‘You can’t have one of the BBC’s crown jewels comparing Suella Braverman to the Third Reich’: Ex-BBC chief warns ‘heads will roll’ over Gary Lineker’s tweets

February 27, 2023

Appears to mock Rishi Sunak’s landmark EU deal over Northern Ireland, writing: ‘So we’re getting Brexit done… again.’ 

February 20, 2023

He shares a video that calls for illegal immigrants arriving on small boats to be granted citizenship. 

He wrote: ‘Why leave them to fester in a hotel with the far-Right screaming abuse at them? Give them legal status and get them going.’ 

February 15, 2023 

Lineker posts from an airport arrivals queue: ‘Another monster queue at customs at a European city next to deserted lanes for EU members. The delights of Brexit.’ 

January 14, 2023

The former England football captain retweets a post calling Home Secretary Suella Braverman ‘utterly devoid of sensibility’ after her exchange with a Holocaust survivor. 

January 11, 2023

Then-culture secretary Michelle Donelan said the BBC should be ‘conscious’ of recent comments made by Lineker.

Ms Donelan was speaking to The News Agents podcast about remarks Lineker had made on the same show about the World Cup in Qatar and racism in America. 

Gary Lineker has repeatedly come under fire for his political views, which critics say breach BBC impartiality rules 

Lineker has been critical of the Conservative Party’s crackdown on small boats, likening it to Nazi Germany. Pictured is Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday during a press conference after the Government unveiled plans for new laws to curb Channel crossings as part of the Illegal Migration Bill

‘There is a problem with impartiality and the BBC, they would say that they’ve recognised that themselves,’ she said.

October 2022

Lineker breached BBC impartiality rules with a social media post criticising the Tories, the broadcaster’s complaints team ruled.

The Match of the Day host, 62, used Twitter to quote an article about Liz Truss – then foreign secretary – urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia.

In his post, the former England striker, who has more than 8.7million followers on Twitter, added: ‘And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?’.

September 2022

BBC boss Tim Davie says reining in Lineker’s tweeting was a ‘work in progress’. 

Pictured: BBC boss Tim Davie said Lineker was a ‘work in progress’

August 2022

Lineker sparked a row with a senior BBC journalist with a Tweet about sewage.

He wrote on Twitter: ‘As a politician how could you ever, under any circumstances, bring yourself to vote for pumping sewage into our seas? Unfathomable!’

The tweet prompted veteran BBC journalist Neil Henderson, a home and foreign news editor, to ask the £1.35million-a-year presenter if his contract allowed him to breach the corporation’s impartiality rules.

The journalist wrote to him: ‘The BBC lives or dies by its impartiality. If you can’t abide it, get off it.’

Mr Henderson, following discussions with BBC bosses, later issued an apology.

Lineker was embroiled in a row with a senior BBC journalist following his tweet about sewerage (pictured)

The Match of the Day host and former England captain has been vocal about his political views, having criticised the Conservatives’ handling of Brexit and the migrant crisis 

One person demanded Lineker quit after his comments in 2016 about his remarks over the refugee crisis. When someone said ‘you deserve it, hope you lose your job’, Lineker retweeted and defiantly said: ‘I won’t.’  

July 2022

Lineker found himself at odds with ex-racing driver turned Sky commentator Martin Brundle over his response to a Just Stop Oil protest.

Protesters stormed the British Grand Prix, sparking fury from Brundle, who said they could have been killed.

Lineker tweeted: ‘History will look back very favourably on these people’.

But Brundle replied: ‘Gary please don’t encourage this reckless behaviour. ‘They’d have been sliced into 100 pieces and fans, marshals and drivers were wholly at risk of injury and death. I totally support freedom of speech and opinion, but do it responsibly.’

Lineker appeared to show his support for Just Stop Oil protesters in July 2022 following their demonstration at Silverstone Grand Prix, which saw some activists storming the track 

October 2020

Lineker said he had spoken to the BBC’s director-general Tim Davie ‘quite a few times in recent weeks’ and that Mr Davie was ‘perfectly happy’ with his conduct on social media.

His comments came after new guidelines and training were announced by the BBC to ‘ensure the highest possible standards of impartiality’ among staff at the broadcaster.

December 2018 

Lineker’s politically-charged outbursts on social media drew criticism from a fellow BBC colleagues. 

Cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew said he would have been ‘sacked’ if her had expressed his political views as openly as Lineker 

Broadcaster Jonathan Agnew hit out at the BBC Sport host over the former England football captain’s outspoken political views on Brexit. 

Mr Agnew, who is a BBC cricket broadcaster, claimed Lineker was breaching BBC impartiality – and that if he had shown such political views he would have ‘been sacked’.

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: ‘Gary. You are the face of BBC Sport. Please observe BBC editorial guidelines and keep your political views, whatever they are and whatever the subject, to yourself. I’d be sacked if I followed your example. Thanks.’

The message on social media followed a series of tweets by Lineker in which he appeared to slam the Tories, who at the time were holding a no-confidence vote in former PM Theresa May.  

‘Extraordinary to watch us take our country back and rip it to shreds in the process,’ he wrote in one tweet, before later retweeting David Cameron’s calls for the Conservatives to back Mrs May, which Lineker shared with crying-with-laughter emojis.

October 2016

The former England striker was slammed over his stance on child refugees after a number were accused of looking old than 18. 

(file image of a refugee lighting a fire to keep warm in Dunkirk, France, in November 2021)

The accusation prompted the BBC presenter to tweet: ‘The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist.’

Lineker was blasted for his take, with critics at the time accusing him of breaching BBC impartiality guidelines, which state ‘external activities’ must not impact the public perception of the broadcasting giant’s impartiality.  

Following the backlash, Mr Lineker tweeted: ‘Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse – imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.’

When someone replied saying they hoped he would lose his job because he ‘deserved it’, Lineker hit back, saying: ‘I won’t’.

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