Lee Anderson slams Gary Lineker for weighing in on next BBC chairman

BBC chairman Richard Sharp resigns

Tory boss Lee Anderson MP has slapped down Gary Lineker after the BBC football pundit once again offered a political opinion. Reacting to the news of BBC Chairman Richard Sharp’s resignation this morning, Mr Lineker demanded his successor is not picked by the Government.

Mr Lineker tweeted: “The BBC chairman should not be selected by the government of the day. Not now, not ever.”

Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson has once again gone to war with the BBC’s highest-paid star for weighing in on politics.

Reacting to Mr Lineker’s tweet, Mr Anderson told the Express: “Clearly Gary didn’t get the message – no one wants to hear his political pontifications.

“He says the Government shouldn’t pick the BBC chairman, but his crony Alastair Campbell did exactly the same thing 22 years ago. It’s one rule for his mates and another for everyone else.

“Lineker should get his facts right and stick to selling junk food.”

In 2001, Sir Tony Blair sparked a row after he was accused of appointing a “crony” as BBC chairman.

Gavyn Davies was appointed to head the corporation by Mr Blair, a former Labour Party member who had close links with leading government figures. His wife, Sue Nye, ran Gordon Brown’s office.

Mr Blair had already appointed the former Labour donor Greg Dyke as its director general.

The renewed war of words between the Tories and Mr Lineker comes after the TV star’s suspension by the BBC over inflammatory comments about the Government’s illegal migrant policy.

At the time, the Express revealed 36 Tory parliamentarians wrote to BBC boss Tim Davie demanding he launch a full and independent investigation into Mr Lineker’s political comments.

BBC chairman Richard Sharp sensationally resigned this morning after an investigation by the Commissioner for Public Appointments found he had breached rules by failing to tell the panel that appointed him to his position about helping to facilitate a credit facility for then-PM Boris Johnson.

An inquiry by Adam Heppinstall KC concluded Mr Sharp’s breach created a “perception of a conflict of interest”.

He said: “There may well have been a risk of a perception that Mr Sharp would not be independent of the former Prime Minister, if appointed. I make no findings about whether Mr Sharp had any intention of seeking to influence the former Prime Minister in this manner.”

The report was commissioned in February by the Commissioner for Public Appointments after the Sunday Times first revealed his role in facilitating an £800,000 loan to Mr Johnson.

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Confirming his decision to quit, Richard Sharp says: “I feel that this matter will be a distraction from the BBC’s good work if I were to remain in post until the end of my term, I have therefore this morning resigned as the BBC Chair to the Secretary of State and the Board.”

He thanked Mr Heppinstall for his work and noted it was the KC’s view that: “While I did breach the governance code for public appointments, he states very clearly that a breach does not necessarily invalidate an appointment.

“I have therefore this morning resigned as BBC Chair to the Secretary of State, and to the Board.

“It was proposed to me that I stay on as Chair until the end of June while the process to appoint my successor is undertaken, and I will of course do that in the interests of the Corporation’s stability and continuity.”

Mr Sharp said: “Being the Chairman of the BBC has been an enormous privilege”.

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