BBC Sport host Gary Lineker has been criticised by his BBC Cricket colleague Jonathan Agnew for his outlandish political views on Twitter.
The former England football captain, who hosts the BBC’s flagship Match of the Day programme, has been outspoken in his political opinions, in particular his opposition to Brexit, which he regularly tweets about. Lineker also appeared at a rally in London campaigning for a second referendum in November.
Agnew tweeted out: “Gary. You are the face of BBC Sport. Please observe BBC editorial guidelines and keep your political views, whatever they are and whatever the subject, to yourself. I’d be sacked if I followed your example. Thanks.”
The tweet was in response to Lineker who had posted a series of attacks on the Government over Brexit.
A ccording to The Guardian: Lineker replied to Agnew’s criticism saying: “I’ll continue to tweet what I like and if folk disagree with me then so be it.” He added that he imagined Agnew would not be concerned about Lineker making his political views known “if you agreed with me”.
Agnew responded by posting a thumbs up emoji, with some on Twitter commending them for the civility of their interaction.
While some on Twitter supported Agnew, with one writing “Get in, Aggers” and another “Thank you Aggers”, Agnew said that he had received far more responses opposing his views than supporting them. He tweeted: “Ok. View is overwhelmingly going Gary! You can stop the aggro now.”
After many people, including a Labour MP, said that Agnew’s tweet confirmed he was a Brexiteer, Agnew tweeted he had voted Remain.
One person replied to Agnew: “You’re just plain wrong on this… Can you show us what contract you signed which said you can’t express political views that don’t related to your broadcast responsibilities?” To which Agnew replied with a link to the BBC editorial guidelines on impartiality.
The BBC’s editorial guidelines state that: “Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences.”
A BBC spokesperson said in response to the furore: “Gary is not involved in any news or political output for the BBC and as such any expression of his personal political views does not affect the BBC’s impartiality.”
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