BBC: new impartiality rules introduced for flagship presenters after row over Gary Lineker social media posts

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Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker was suspended by the BBC earlier this year after tweeting about the government's asylum policy

New rules around impartiality for BBC flagship presenters have been published following a controversial row involving Match of the Day host Gary Lineker.

Lineker was suspended from the broadcaster in March 2023 after he tweeted criticism of the government's asylum policy. In a post on Twitter - now known as X - he referred to Home Secretary Suella Braverman's policy of banning those arriving in the UK illegally from ever claiming asylum as an "immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s".

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The former footballer was eventually welcomed back to the BBC, following a revolt from major stars of the broadcaster, including the entire main Match of the Day presenting team.

Now new rules around impartiality for non-news, flagship presenters have been unveiled following a review by former ITN boss John Hardie.

The new guidance recommends that high-profile flagship hosts should be allowed to express their views on political issues and policies. However, they should not be allowed to take part in any political campaigning.

The BBC's flagship shows include Match of the Day, The Apprentice, Dragon's Den, Strictly Come Dancing, Antiques Roadshow, Masterchef, Top Gear and major sporting live event. Stars such as Alan Sugar, Lineker and others will now have "a particular responsibility to respect the BBC's impartiality, because of their profile on the BBC".

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