As Gary Lineker’s BBC career hangs in the balance, even Labour are beginning to shift their line on the footballing star. Appearing on Sky News with Sophy Ridge last night, Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry pushed back on the millionaire pundit’s comments, claiming he “went too far” in comparing the government’s small boats policy to Nazi Germany, and she “wouldn’t have said that” herself:
“I know that Gary Lineker feels very strongly about this issue, and he has brought refugees into his home and he campaigns on this issue. I think some of the language that Gary Lineker has used in the last 24 hours has been really very unfortunate, and I wouldn’t have used some of the [comments]… I just think that there is a special place in hell for the Nazis… I don’t think you should be making those comparisons. So I wouldn’t have said that, I think that he went too far…”
Starmer’s spokesperson already gave Lineker a yellow card earlier in the day, saying “comparisons with Germany in the 1930s aren’t always the best way to make your argument. But Gary Lineker has been a passionate advocate on behalf of refugees…”. Directly saying he went “too far” and shouldn’t have made the comments at all is enough to send him off the pitch. Which would make things awkward for James O’Brien, who is now suggesting Tory criticism of Lineker’s comments is somehow out of the fascist playbook. What does he think of Thornberry, then?