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Gary Lineker slips up (again)

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Will Gary Lineker ever learn? The BBC Sports pundit is now facing criticism after signing an open letter calling for the government to end the Rwanda plan and create a ‘fair new plan for refugees’. It comes just nine months after he sparked a huge row over describing government rhetoric as being not dissimilar from, er, 1930s Germany. So much for that famed BBC impartiality…

Far from being chastened, the left-wing centre forward it at it again. Quote-tweeting Jonathan Gullis MP on Twitter — who criticised Lineker’s impartiality rule breach — the Match of the Day presenter sneered: ‘Jonathan hasn’t read the new guidelines…or, should I say, had someone read them to him?’ 

But, as Times journalist Jake Kanter pointed out, the BBC’s new social media rules demand staff don’t ‘criticise the character of individual politicians in the UK’. And now the BBC has spoken. The corporation stated this afternoon that while it won’t ‘comment on individuals or indeed individual tweets’, their guidance ‘is also clear that individuals should be civil’ and, crucially, ‘not call into question anyone’s character’. Oh dear. Sounds like Lineker is about to get yet another talking to…

Will Gary make a hattrick of rows before the year is out?

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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