Tory MP Jonathan Gullis issues challenge to Gary Lineker in Rwanda row

Tory MP issues challenge to Gary Lineker

Tory MP Jonathan Gullis has challenged Gary Lineker to stand for Parliament against him in his constituency.

The Stoke-on-Trent North MP said if the Match of the Day host is “so confident he could do such a great job” running the country he should throw his hat into the ring at the next general election.

It comes as the BBC’s highest-paid star sparked a fresh impartiality row after signing an open letter criticising the Government’s Rwanda policy.

Mr Gullis has written to BBC director-general Tim Davie after becoming embroiled in a war of words with the football pundit on social media over his latest political intervention.

The former minister told TalkTV: “I think Margaret Thatcher said it best in the past which is if they can’t debate with you politically they start to insult you personally.

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“I do think there is a potential breach here of the social media guidelines Gary Lineker has signed up to which says an individual politician should not be insulted personally.

“Sadly Gary Lineker decided to do that so I have written to Tim Davie, the director-general of the BBC, to look into this and I’ll wait for his feedback.

“It’s very sad that these so-called celebrities, the wokerati, the elites of this country, seem to think they understand how to govern the country.

“If Gary Lineker’s so confident he could do such a great job, why not stand for Parliament?

“He’s very welcome to run against me in Stoke-on-Trent North.”

In response, Lineker said in a post on social media platform X: “Could he do it on a wet Tuesday election night in Stoke?”

The former England footballer was among a group of celebrities who signed the letter co-ordinated by campaign coalition Together With Refugees released yesterday.

Mr Gullis claimed the move was “yet another breach of the BBC’s impartiality rules”.

But Lineker hit back: “Jonathan hasn’t read the new guidelines….or, should I say, had someone read them to him?”

In his letter to Mr Davie after the jibe, the Tory MP said the BBC “faces a catastrophic loss of trust amongst MPs and the public because it cannot act against highly paid starts who breach impartiality guidelines”.

New social media rules were introduced by the corporation after the football pundit was at the centre of a BBC impartiality furore in March for taking to social media to criticise the Government’s illegal immigration crackdown.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We aren’t going to comment on individuals or indeed individual tweets.

“While the guidance does allow people to talk about issues that matter to them, it is also clear that individuals should be civil and not call into question anyone’s character. We discuss issues that arise with presenters as necessary.”

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