"I'll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice."
Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker has insisted that he will ‘keep speaking for those with no voice’, after Tory MPs condemned him for daring to criticise the government’s inhumane and unworkable plan to stop migrant boats crossing the channel.
On Tuesday, the government unveiled its plan to crack down on the boat crossings with its new illegal migration bill, which places the Home Secretary under a legal duty to remove migrants who arrive in the country illegally. They will be swiftly sent to their home country if it is deemed safe, or to a safe third country such as Rwanda, where they will be “supported to rebuild their lives”, the Home Office said.
Under the new legislation, all those who arrive illegally will be declared inadmissible to stay. The proposed law also means that people who come to the UK illegally will be prevented from settling in the country and will face a permanent ban on returning.
The plans have been criticised by human rights groups and the UN. Lineker is among those who rightly called out the government’s proposals and language. The presenter described the policy on Twitter as an “immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
Downing Street and Tory MPs condemned Lineker’s remarks, with Suella Braverman saying she was “very disappointed” by Lineker’s comments and branded them “irresponsible”.
The BBC said it was having a “frank conversation” with Lineker about the corporation’s need to remain impartial, however the former England striker has said he will stand by his remarks.
Responding to some of the criticism on Wednesday, Lineker tweeted: “Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree.”
He followed up shortly after with: “I have never known such love and support in my life than I’m getting this morning (England World Cup goals aside, possibly). I want to thank each and every one of you. It means a lot.
“I’ll continue to try and speak up for those poor souls that have no voice.”
He also told reporters outside his London home that he stood by his criticism of the government’s asylum seeker policy and does not fear suspension by the BBC.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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