London politics latest LIVE: Gary Lineker to return to hosting this weekend as BBC commits to social media review
ary Lineker will return to hosting sport for the BBC this weekend after the presenter and the corporation came to agreement on Monday.
Lineker “stepped back” from his Match of the Day presenting duties on Friday, after criticism of the Government’s controversial Illegration Migration Bill, prompting fellow pundits to refuse to present footballing programmes leaving the BBC sports schedule in chaos.
In a statement released on Monday, BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “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 said the corporation would launch an independent review into its social media guidelines, with a particular focus on freelancers outside news and current affairs.
Lineker said in the statement: “I am glad that we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.”
He wrote on Twitter: “After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity.”
It comes as MPs are set to debate the Bill in the Commmons on Monday.
The legislation to crack down on Channel crossings – which would remove and ban asylum seekers from re-entry if they arrive in the UK through unauthorised means – sparked furore when it was unveiled by Home Secretary Suella Braverman last Tuesday.
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BBC Director-General’s statement in full
Tim Davie, Director-General of the BBC, said in a statement released at 10am: “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.
“Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression. That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles.
BBC director-general Tim Davie
/ PA Archive
“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.
“Accordingly, 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.”
My difficult few days doesn’t compare to plight of refugees, says Lineker
Gary Lineker says he ‘cannot wait’ to return to presenting after BBC agreement reached
BBC confirms Gary Lineker’s return and review of social media guidelines
Gary Lineker will return to presenting MOTD this weekend, the BBC has confirmed, while the corporation is also set to review its social media guidelines.
BBC managers have reached a deal with Lineker, after he was accused of breaching impartiality rules with comments he made on Twitter criticising the government’s asylum policy.
In a statement released at 10am, BBC Director-General Tim Davie said: “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 also announced the BBC will be holding an “independent review into its social media guidelines”, which will focus on those such as Lineker, who work in roles outside of news and current affairs.
Lineker added in the statement: “I am glad that we have found a way forward. I support this review and look forward to getting back on air.”
Lineker will be allowed to tweet with ‘no restrictions’, say reports
According to the i newspaper, Gary Lineker will be allowed to continute tweeting about politics with “no restrictions” as part of a deal struck with the BBC in the wake of his impartiality row.
A full statement is expected to be released by the corporation at 10am.
Gary Lineker to return to BBC and receive apology – reports
Gary Lineker is set to return to presenting Match of the Day following a row with the BBC over his comments on the government’s Illegal Migration Bill, according to reports.
Lineker ”stepped back” from the weekend’s edition of the flagship football show after he reportedly breached the corporation’s rules on impartiality, when he slammed the bill on Twitter as “an immeasurably cruel policy”.
According to reports, Lineker will return to presenting MotD this weekend and will receive an apologyfrom the BBC.
What is the Illegal Migration Bill, and why is it controversial?
The Illegal Migration Bill is legislation designed to crack down on people crossing the English Channel on small boats.
Unveiled in the Commons last Tuesday by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the controversial policy would see refugees arriving by boats detained, removed and banned for life from claiming asylum in the UK.
Critics have warned the bill is “unworkable” and will leave thousands of migrants in limbo by banning them from ever claiming British citizenship.
The new bill is designed to clamp down on people crossing the Channel in small boats
/ PA Archive
The United Nations’ refugee agency urged MPs and peers to block the “profoundly” concerning plan, while human rights organisation Amnesty International UK said it contained nothing “fair, humane or even practical” and described it as a “shocking new low”.
But the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have defended the plans, with Rishi Sunak saying: “Stopping the boats is not just my priority, it’s the people’s priority.”
Read a full breakdown of the Illegal Migration Bill and how it would be enforced here, or listen to the Standard’s Political Editor Nicholas Cecil explain the plan on The Leader podcast.