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Bring Back Gary Lineker

To the Chairperson of the BBC, Richard Sharp,

I am appalled by the BBC management's decision to suspend Gary Lineker from hosting Match of the Day, unless he agrees to stop voicing his personal view on a matter of great public interest - the government's appalling, dangerous rhetoric on asylum seekers. It is a blow to free expression in our country and a historic own goal for the Corporation. Only yesterday, the BBC said Gary will not be suspended or disciplined; less than 24 hours later, you choose to U-turn - and to lie about your decision, by issuing the false statement that Gary is stepping back of his own accord.

Let me be clear: Gary Lineker has absolutely nothing to apologise for.

First, Gary made his comment in his personal capacity, on his personal Twitter account, not on air. Second, he didn’t compare your patrons in the Tory party to Nazis - he merely said, as mildly as it can be said, that Suella Braverman’s rhetoric reminds him of the rhetoric employed in Germany in the 1930s. And third, he is far from the first to make this analogy - indeed, Joan Salter, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, made that same comparison, to Braverman’s face, as recently as last month.

We call on you to return Gary Lineker to Match of the Day before the next programme is out. And we call on all players, pundits and commentators to boycott the show until Gary is back in place. 


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