Tory Minister Defends Gary Lineker Despite Latest Spat With Senior Conservatives

Damian Hinds said the Match of the Day host is "entitled to his views".
Own goal: Gary Lineker is usually attacked by senior Conservatives.
Own goal: Gary Lineker is usually attacked by senior Conservatives.
Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

A government minister has defended Gary Lineker despite the Match of the Day host getting into yet another spat with senior Tories.

Damian Hinds said the former England striker was “entitled to his views”.

His comments are at odds with criticism levelled at Lineker by cabinet minister Grant Shapps, Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson and right-wing Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis.

They lined up to condemn the BBC presenter after he backed a campaign criticising the government’s Rwanda policy.

Shapps said Lineker should “stick to” football, while Anderson said he should “put a sock in it”.

Lineker then hit back at his critics with a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter) - prompting a slapdown yesterday from incoming BBC chairman Samir Shah.

He said that “on the face of it” the TV star had broken the corporation’s new social media impartiality guidelines.

Asked for his views on Lineker on Sky News this morning, Hinds said: “I always thought he was an oustanding goalscorer.”

Pressed further by presenter Kay Burley, the education minister replied: “Gary Lineker takes to social media a great deal, I’m not a great fan of social media myself, not sure it’s the best place to be having political discourse.

“Gary Lineker’s entirely entitled to his views, but I think everybody who is directly or indirectly in receipt of a privileged position has to be mindful of how they use that.”

Hinds said it was important to have “polite and balanced and respectful engagement” on social media.


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