Richard Madeley says calls to sack Gary Lineker are ‘preposterous’ after Nazi comments

Richard Madeley came to Gary Lineker’s defence during Question Time after the Match of the Day presenter compared the UK Conservative government to Nazi Germany.

This week, the Home Office launched its latest policy to stop the so-called influx of illegal immigrants entering the UK.

The proposal has been widely condemned, with some questioning its legality and others dubbing the Tory party as “fascists.”

Gary, who earlier this year poked fun at a hilarious Match of the Day X-rated blunder, was very vocal on social media and replied to the Home Office’s tweet with: “Good heavens, this is beyond hurtful.”

An angry social media user scathed in response: “You're out of order here, @GaryLineker; you may be living safe and in comparative comfort but what about the communities devastated by this influx, feeling unsafe, infrastructure stressed to the limits? Of course, easy to pontificate when it doesn't directly affect you.”

But Gary, 62, did not step there and hit back: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I'm out of order?”

His tweet sparked a considerable backlash from right-wing commentators, with some questioning whether it broke the BBC’s impartiality rules.

While appearing on Question Time on Thursday alongside Robert Jenrick, Sarah Jones, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Ken Clarke, Richard, 66, defended Gary and his words.

When asked whether Gary should get a “red card” from the BBC, Richard replied with a resounding “no” and argued that Gary was simply exhibiting “free speech.”

He explained: “Clearly if he was a political journalist, political presenter or interviewer in any of the areas of the BBC that we’re talking about, like Newsnight, then clearly he shouldn’t have made those comments.

“Those comments would be a dereliction of duty and deeply compromising to his programme, to himself, future interviews and of course to the BBC which is publicly funded by us.

“But he’s a sports presenter; he talks about football and games and tactics, and headers and corners and referees and league tables and all the rest of it.”

“And quite how having [not having the right to have] the freedom of speech on – not even on any of his programmes – but on his Twitter page, to say anything he likes within in the law, escapes me,” the Good Morning Britain presenter, who is usually seen alongside Susanna Reid, added.

While the father of Chloe Madeley doesn’t think Gary should be sacked, he doesn’t agree with his argument that the UK could be compared to Nazi Germany.

“It’s an insult to the minorities and the Jewish nation who were subject to acts of genocide by the then German dictatorship,” he said.

Gary, who will likely avoid a BBC suspension, took to Twitter again on Thursday and wrote: “Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days. Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting @BBCMOTD on Saturday. Thanks again for all your incredible support. It’s been overwhelming.”


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