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Gary Lineker on ‘silly story’ over his criticism of the government

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Gary Lineker on ‘silly story’ over his criticism of the government

“It was a silly story that was blown up because I was misrepresented… we’ll carry on for the time being”

Today on Good Morning Britain, Gary Lineker spoke for the first time since he was suspended from Match of the Day, following his criticism of the government on social media about the migrant crisis. Gary also discussed returning to quiz show Sitting on a Fortune and receiving an award from Amnesty International for his activism.

When asked if Gary still stood by his previous comments, criticising the government’s use of language to describe the migrant crisis, Gary responded,

“Already you’ve misrepresented what I said, and that’s what happened because of the Daily Mail headline which caused this furrow in the first place. I didn’t compare the government to the Nazis, I didn’t talk about the Holocaust, I didn’t do any of that. All I said was, some of the language is not dissimilar to that used back in the thirties in Germany and there is a substantial difference in that.

“But it’s amazing how many people do think that, because they see a front page headline of a newspaper. But that’s water under the bridge now. All is well with the world, it was a very disproportionate story… common sense prevailed.”

When questioned further, Gary replied to host Richard Madeley saying,

“Again you’re using the term about Nazis and trying to connect it with this government. I was talking about some of the language that is not dissimilar and that is very much the case. We use the words ‘swarm’, we use the word ‘invasion’, we use the word ‘rapists’ – all these for people who are fleeing persecution, fleeing war, awful circumstances. All I was trying to say is that we can use kinder language and it was nothing more and nothing less than that, Richard.”

When asked whether Gary thought he had to choose between being a politician or a public broadcaster he said,

“I think I can and I am. I think it’s really important if you’ve got a big platform to try and use it for what you think is for the good and that’s what I’ve always done, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. People are entitled to opinions. Some of these people who perhaps complain about certain things are also the massive campaigners of free speech, so you can’t have it all ways but they’re entitled to their opinion. I’m absolutely happy with that.”

Gary was also questioned about potential conflicts working for the publicly funded broadcaster BBC. He said,

“I’m a freelancer, I’m here to promote a show, Sitting on a Fortune which is an ITV show. I’m on all sorts of platforms. It was a silly story that was kind of blown up because I was misrepresented, but I think it got resolved in the end and we’ll carry on for the time being.”

On the return of his quiz show Sitting on a Fortune, Gary shared,

“It’s quite uncomfortable that chair, but they can win big money. I think it was so popular because there’s so much drama guaranteed in each show and you generally finish on a high moment because of the nature of it. And the fact that normally, one of the six contestants will win a lot of money, pretty much guaranteed really, although things can still go wrong so there’s always that jeopardy. But it’s really exciting at the end when someone is sitting in the money chair at the right time.”

Good Morning Britain, weekdays on ITV from 6am

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