Gary Lineker was challenged over Brexit tweets: Keep your views to yourself

Gary Lineker discusses the start of his presenting career

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Gary Lineker hosts ‘Sitting on a Fortune’ a quiz show in which contestants attempt to stay in the money chair for the chance to win a massive jackpot. The former England international is famous for his long stint as host of Match Of The Day. He has also made a name for himself as an ardent Remainer in recent years, supporting the UK’s place in the EU and also a People’ Vote after the country voted Leave. But this landed him into an argument with fellow England great Peter Shilton.

The argument occurred in December 2018, as Shilton tweeted he has been “impressed” with Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees Mogg.

Lineker then tweeted: “What’s the old saying? You should never see a tweet from your heroes.”

The apparent dig at Shilton was met with anger from broadcaster Jonathan Agnew, who suggested Lineker shouldn’t discuss his views on Brexit.

He said: “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.”

Lineker responded: “Jonathan, I’m the face of my own Twitter account. I’ll continue to tweet what I like and if folk disagree with me then so be it.

“Thank you so much for your concern, which, I imagine, wouldn’t be a concern at all if you agreed with me.”

Lineker has always remained adamant that he can talk about what he likes on his Twitter account.

A year before this exchange, he was told by a Twitter user that as a BBC employee he should not comment on politics he replied: “I’m freelance and I’ll talk s*** about whatever I like on my twitter feed, thanks.”

The BBC’s editorial guidelines stated at the time that staff, presenters and even those who contribute to programmes can affect the corporation’s impartiality through their ‘external activities’, especially if there is a conflict of interest.

It read: “The external activities of staff, presenters and others who contribute to our output can also affect the BBC’s reputation for impartiality.

“A conflict of interest may arise when the external activities of anyone involved in making our content affects the BBC’s reputation for integrity, independence and high standards, or may be reasonably perceived to do so.

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“There is a danger of conflict of interest in every area of programme or content making.”

But a BBC spokesperson confirmed at the time that Lineker had not broken editorial guidelines.

They told MailOnline: “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.”

After receiving a flurry of responses from supporters of Lineker’s pro-remain stance, former England fast bowler, Agnew, back-tracked and told the football presenter to “keep going”.

He tweeted: “Ok. View is overwhelmingly keep going Gary! You can stop the aggro now… @GaryLineker.”

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