BBC sports presenter says he stands by tweet criticizing govt’s migrant policy

BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker told reporters Thursday that he does not regret posting a tweet comparing the language of the UK’s latest migrant policy to that used by Nazi Germany.

 

Speaking to reporters outside his home in London, Lineker defended his comments on the controversial illegal migration bill.

 

Asked whether he regretted his tweet, Lineker who is also a former England striker, responded “no” and when asked if he stood by it replied: “Of course.”

 

In response to a video message by Interior Minister Suella Braverman about stopping migrant boats, he tweeted: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”

 

Lineker also said there is no huge influx and the UK takes far fewer refugees than other major European countries.

 

“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?” he wrote on Twitter.

 

The 62-year-old Lineker has faced criticism over his tweet and the language he used as it also sparked a dispute over the BBC’s “impartiality rules.”

 

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said it was “important for the BBC to retain impartiality if it is to retain the trust of the public, who pay the license fee.”

 

The BBC said Wednesday that it was having a “frank conversation” with Lineker about the broadcasting company’s guidelines on remaining impartial.

 

Controversial migration bill

 

On Tuesday, the British government introduced the bill in a bid to address the increasing number of illegal small boat crossings to arrive in the UK via the English Channel.

 

According to the government, the new bill would ensure that those who come to the UK illegally would be unable to claim asylum, benefit from “modern slavery protections,” make “spurious” human rights claims or stay in the UK.

 

The bill also drew fierce criticism from many including charities and opposition in the country.

 

On Tuesday, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) expressed concern about the matter, saying that if it was passed, the UK asylum legislation would “amount to an asylum ban.”

 

Additionally, during the Prime Minister’s Questions session in parliament on Wednesday, main opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer said that after 13 years of Conservative rule, small boat crossings were higher than ever.

 

“This is their fifth prime minister, the sixth immigration plan, the seventh home secretary. And after all this time, all they offer is the same old gimmicks and empty promises,” he said.

 

In response to Starmer’s remarks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the bill, saying that stopping the boats is the people’s priority.

 

“He’s just another leftie lawyer standing in our way,” added Sunak, referring to Starmer.

 

Source: Anadolu Agency

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