Home Secretary Suella Braverman has blasted critics of her migrant crackdown and refused to back down in the wake of the Gary Lineker’s BBC storm after his Nazi slur.
Speaking in The Commons on Monday, Mrs Braverman described how she has been ‘subject to the most grotesque slurs’ for telling ‘such simple truths about the impact of illegal migration’.
Match Of The Day pundit Gary Lineker was taken off air over the weekend for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany.
But the Home Secretary has slammed criticism she has received in the wake of the row, adding that she will ‘not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties’.
She said: ‘Despite our reasonable concerns that we have raised on several occasions, like (Tory former home secretary Priti Patel) before me, I am subject to the most grotesque slurs for saying such simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal migration.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has blasted critics of her migrant crackdown and refused to back down in the wake of the Gary Lineker’s BBC storm after his Nazi slur
Match Of The Day pundit Gary Lineker was taken off air over the weekend for a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy to that of 1930s Germany
‘The worst among them, poisoned by the extreme ideology of identity politics, suggest that a person’s skin colour should dictate their political views.
‘I will not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties, or anyone for that matter. I won’t be patronised on what appropriate views for someone of my background can hold. And I will not back down when faced with spurious accusations of bigotry.
‘When such smears seep into the discourse of this chamber, as they did last week, accusations that this Government’s policies – backed by the majority of the British people – are bigoted, are xenophobic or are dog-whistles to racists, it is irresponsible and, frankly, beneath the dignity of this place.
‘Politicians of all stripes should know better and they should choose their words carefully.’
It comes after the BBC reported that the director-general had sent an email to all staff on Monday where he acknowledged how ‘challenging the last few days have been’ and added how ‘grateful I am for all your work during this weekend’s disruption’.
The BBC has apologised after an impartiality row over a tweet by Gary Lineker ended with the presenter reinstated as the host of Match of the Day.
Director-General Tim Davie said he recognised ‘the potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance’ following a ‘difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters, and most importantly, our audiences’.
Lineker thanked his fellow presenters and pundits for their ‘remarkable show of solidarity’ after a number pulled out of BBC shows at the weekend when the former England striker was told to step back from hosting the show.
Confirming Lineker would return to Match of the Day on Saturday, Mr Davie said the presenter ‘will abide by the editorial guidelines’ until a review of the BBC’s social media policy is complete.
Speaking in The Commons on Monday, Mrs Braverman described how she has been ‘subject to the most grotesque slurs’ for telling ‘such simple truths about the impact of illegal migration’ (file photo)
In his statement issued on Monday, the director-general said: ‘Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences. I apologise for this.
‘The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised. I want to get matters resolved and our sport content back on air.’
Mr Davie told the BBC he did ‘the right thing’ in asking Lineker to step back from presenting duties, but said he ‘respects the views’ of the presenters and pundits who walked out in solidarity with the former England striker.
The BBC Board said it welcomed the agreement between Lineker and the broadcaster, saying it was ‘the right time’ to review its social media guidelines.
But former BBC director-general Greg Dyke said that the announcement was ‘like a 5-0 win’ for Lineker, and that it looked ‘like the Government has bullied the BBC into taking this decision’.
Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, he said: ‘Today’s announcement is like a 5-0 win for Gary Lineker really, or maybe 5-1.
‘As I understand it, this was the very solution that was offered to the BBC on Friday, and they turned it down – now they’ve accepted it.
‘But in this case, I think the perception out there, the perception amongst the public is, is exactly what you said: that it looks like the Government has bullied the BBC into taking this decision.
‘Now, I don’t know whether that’s true or not. I have no idea. But if that’s the perception, it’s very bad news for the BBC.’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is currently visiting the US, said: ‘I was pleased that the issue with Gary Lineker has been resolved and we can all look forward to watching Match Of The Day again – not least as Southampton managed to get a point at the weekend.
‘I’ll be looking forward to catching up on those highlights when I get back.
‘But it was right that that was a matter resolved between the BBC and Gary. I’m glad that that’s happened.’
Asked by the BBC whether there was an issue of political bias at the corporation, the Mr Sunak said: ‘No, it’s right that the BBC is impartial and it takes its obligations on impartiality very seriously.’
Football coverage on BBC TV and radio shows was hit across the weekend as fellow pundits, presenters and reporters – including Alan Shearer, Ian Wright and Alex Scott – joined the walkout.
Match Of The Day aired for only 20 minutes on Saturday without accompanying commentary or analysis from presenters, with Sunday’s edition following a similar format and running for a reduced 15 minutes.
Coverage of the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Manchester United aired without a pre-match presentation on Sunday, and Radio 5 Live replaced much of its usual live sports coverage over the weekend with pre-recorded content.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Lineker described the past few days as ‘surreal’, adding he was ‘delighted we have navigated a way through this’.
In a series of tweets, Lineker also appeared to address the issue of migration again, saying his difficult weekend ‘doesn’t compare to having to flee your home from persecution or war to seek refuge in a land far away’.
‘We remain a country of predominantly tolerant, welcoming and generous people. Thank you,’ he added.
In a follow-up tweet, Lineker thanked Mr Davie for his ‘understanding during a difficult period’.
The presenter said: ‘He has an almost impossible job keeping everybody happy, particularly in the area of impartiality.
‘I am delighted that we’ll continue to fight the good fight, together.’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described BBC chairman Richard Sharp’s position as ‘increasingly untenable’ over the impartiality row, with the party calling on the Government to examine how it can protect a ‘truly independent and impartial BBC’.
Mr Davie described the corporation’s commitment to freedom of expression and to impartiality as a ‘difficult balancing act’.
Confirming an independent review would be conducted into the BBC’s social media guidance, Mr Davie said: ‘We are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs.
‘The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.
‘Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.
‘Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.’
Mr Davie added: ‘The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task.
‘It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.’
The BBC reported that the director-general had sent an email to all staff on Monday in which he said: ‘I want to acknowledge how challenging the last few days have been and to say how grateful I am for all your work during this weekend’s disruption.’
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