BBC has suspended Gary Lineker as a presenter of its Match of the Day flagship programme after criticising the British government over its anti-immigration policy.
Lineker argued that the Anti-Immigration Law which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is introducing to stop “illegal immigration” was “immeasurably cruel” and directed” against the most vulnerable people.
The ex-English footballer also attacked the proposed law for using language “not dissimilar to that used by [fascist] Germany in the 30s” against the Jewish people during the Holocaust.
If passed, the law will ban people arriving in the UK illegally from ever claiming asylum.
Lineker has previously housed asylum seekers and publicly called for better rights and protections for refugees. He has also been critical of successive Conservative governments.
Malawi24 could not independently verify if government or the ruling Conservative party influenced Lineker’s suspension.
However, the opposition Labour Party believes Lineker has been suspended is evident of “Tory [Conservative] politicians lobbying to get people sacked for disagreeing with government policies”.
However, BBC’s current chairperson, Richard Sharp, is very close to the ruling politburo. Sharp is a regular donor of the Conservative party.
Mr Sharp also arranged a secret £800,000 (about 1.3 billion Malawi Kwacha) personal loan for the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and leader of the ruling Conservative party. Johnson later appointed Sharp as chairperson of the BBC.
Sharp also served as Rishi Sunak’s boss when the current British prime minister was a junior banker at Goldman Sachs, where he made a name for himself.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that Lineker’s fellow pundits, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, who co-host Match of the Day will not appear on MOTD in solidarity.
BBC has been criticised by opposition Labour Party and the Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
On its part, Labour has asked BBC to “rethink the decision” to take Gary Lineker off air while describing the suspension as “an assault on free speech”.
Sturgeon called the BBC’s decision “indefensible”. Writing on Twitter, she said BBC had “undermined free speech”.
Lineker has hosted Match of the Day since 1999.