Gary Lineker's comments have sparked uproar from sections of the Conservative Party, as Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports
By Lewis Denison, ITV News Westminster Producer
Suella Braverman has denied using Nazi-like rhetoric when talking about asylum seekers, after Gary Lineker accused her of using language comparable to that of Hitler's Germany.
The home secretary, who on Tuesday announced her new plan to achieve Rishi Sunak's 'stop the boats' aim, told ITV she was "disappointed" to learn the former footballer had accused her of using "language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s".
Mr Lineker was responding to a Home Office video of the home secretary talking about her Illegal Immigration Bill, which will force detention on virtually everyone who enters the UK illegally and make it impossible for most to claim asylum.
In the video, Ms Braverman said "enough is enough. We must stop the boats" when referring to migrants crossing the English Channel, adding that the UK was being "overwhelmed" by asylum seekers.
Mr Lineker responded: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.
"This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s."
Ms Braverman told ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) she was "very disappointed" by his comments.
She added: "Equating our measures - which are lawful, necessary and fundamentally compassionate - to 1930s Germany is irresponsible and I disagree with that characterisation."
Asked if Mr Lineker should resign or be sacked, she said: "That’s a matter for the BBC and they will resolve that."
She invited Mr Lineker to visit England’s ports to "see what the communities in Kent and Dover and actually all around the UK are feeling about this issue".
He responded to the furore online about his comments, writing on Twitter on Wednesday morning: "Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree."
He later thanked people for supporting him and said he would continue to speak out.
Watch Suella Braverman's entire interview with Good Morning Britain
"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. Cheers all."
A BBC spokesperson said: "The BBC has social media guidance, which is published. Individuals who work for us are aware of their responsibilities relating to social media. We have appropriate internal processes in place if required."
Mr Lineker was also criticised by immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who said the ex-England striker presenter is "so far out of step with the British public".
But Mr Lineker was defended by his former England teammate John Barnes, who accused the BBC of "double standards", claiming Mr Lineker was "encouraged" by the broadcaster to be outspoken on human rights abuses relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
John Barnes defended Mr Lineker's comments, accusing the BBC of 'double standards'
"The BBC’s stance for me is a little bit strange because, of course, when you talk about being impartial I remember even Gary himself in the World Cup, in Qatar, and their stance on human rights abuses, be it LGBT or workers rights in Qatar, which wasn’t particularly impartial and the BBC, of course, encouraged that," he said.
"And now because it’s criticising us they’re saying that you’re supposed to be impartial… so it’s a little bit of hypocrisy and double standards as far as I’m concerned."
It is not the first time that Mr Lineker, who has previously offered his Surrey home to a refugee from Balochistan, a province in Pakistan, has been at risk of falling foul of the broadcaster's impartiality guidelines.
In October, Mr Lineker was found to have breached BBC impartiality rules over a comment he made about the Conservative Party having "Russian donors".
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The BBC said it had upheld a reader complaint made about the Match Of The Day presenter’s tweet from February 23 last year.
Mr Lineker shared an article about Liz Truss, then foreign secretary, urging Premier League teams to boycott the Champions League final in Russia, with the comment: "And her party will hand back their donations from Russian donors?"
His latest comments were condemned by some Tory politicians, who urged the BBC to take action, but others supported him.
On the other hand, Lord Dubbs, a Labour peer who fled the Nazis before World War Two as a child refugee, said he applauds the presenter "for his compassion and support for vulnerable people".
But Grant Shapps, the business secretary, said as a Jewish Cabinet Minister he needs "no lessons about 1930s Germany" from Mr Lineker.
He added: "Like Gary, I am hosting refugees in my own home, but unlike Gary, I do not believe it is either right or moral to tolerate criminal gangs trafficking vulnerable people across the channel."
Meanwhile, Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson wrote: "This is just another example of how out of touch these overpaid stars are with the voting public.
"Instead of lecturing, Mr Lineker should stick to reading out the football scores and flogging crisps."