GMBs Susanna Reid defends Gary Lineker after calls to separate him from BBC

Good Morning Britain debates Gary Lineker comments

Susanna Reid asked on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain whether people who work at the BBC are not allowed to have their own opinions after Gary Lineker faced more backlash for airing his political views on social media.

He has faced fresh criticism for backing a campaign calling government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to be scrapped. Former BBC director Danny Cohen also urged the broadcaster to part ways with Gary following other recent political remarks.

“Gary Lineker has spoken out about Rwanda on social media…” Susanna explained.

Kevin Maguire replied: “Yes but this isn’t about that, this is about Israel and Gaza, that’s the Danny Cohen [argument].”

He continued: “What I’ve been following Danny Cohen is picking up feeling that Gary Lineker hasn’t shown enough sympathy compassion for the Israelis who were killed on October 7.

READ MORE ‘Embarrassing!’ BBC urged by former top executive to cut ties with Gary Lineker

“And he’s shown a lot for Palestinians. I think that’s where that is going, he disagrees with what he’s saying.”

“But the thing is that all of these comments that Gary Lineker makes or doesn’t make are on social media and not on the BBC, are people who work on the BBC not allowed to have their own opinions outside of their professional work on the BBC?” Susanna argued.

“Well, it’s a very important issue that you raised Susanna,” Ali Miraj replied.

“And it should be consistent and the rules should be clear.”

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He continued: “If you’re presenting a news programme on the BBC, you have to be impartial and seen to be impartial, you can’t have a view.

“Does that apply to a major football pundit on one of the most watched shows on the BBC?

“I would argue it does because your funding model means that you take money from the ordinary public, right?”

Ed Balls pointed out: “But Gary Lineker agreed to keeping to a new policy after the last row, which says that for people like him who aren’t news presenters, they can have opinions but they can’t politically campaign.

“And that is the question – is this campaigning?”

“If you’re writing a letter on Rwanda with a bunch of other people criticising the government’s approach I think that is pretty activist,” Ali argued, adding: “He should be let go!”

“Again, this is somebody saying, ‘Get rid of Lineker because I disagree with what he is saying,'” Kevin responded.

“I suspect the objection wouldn’t be raised if he agreed with what Lineker is saying – and that’s that’s the point.

“You can’t just cheer on one side. There are all sorts of people on the BBC who are right-wing, Alan Sugar, now, who will say things I disagree with but I never jump [to call for his axe].”

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays from 6am on ITV.

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