Gary LinekerAFP

Gary Lineker has a choice to make over his role at the BBC after criticism of his tweets on the government’s asylum policy, the BBC’s former editorial policy controller has said.

Richard Ayre said Lineker must consider whether to stay or leave “and become a social media influencer”.

Lineker had said the language setting out the plan was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

The culture secretary called the tweets “disappointing and inappropriate”.

Lucy Frazer said: “It’s important for the BBC to retain impartiality if it is to retain the trust of the public who pay the license fee.”

The BBC said on Wednesday it was having a “frank conversation” with Lineker about the BBC’s guidelines on remaining impartial.

On Tuesday, the government outlined its plans to ban people arriving in the UK illegally from ever claiming asylum, in a bid to address a rise in the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats.

Opposition MPs and charities have strongly objected to the proposals, but the PM and home secretary have defended the plan, saying stopping the crossings is a priority for the British people.

Lineker later tweeted: “I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no choice.”

Mr Ayre, who was also a member of the broadcasting regulator Ofcom’s content board, said it was “unacceptable” to have a member of the BBC family “comparing Suella Braverman to the third Reich”.

Lineker, who has presented Match of the Day since 1999, also works for LaLiga TV.

Source: BBC

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