Soccer

Gary Lineker confirms plan to house refugees in his home after criticism

England legend Gary Lineker has confirmed he is offering to put up a refugee in his home.

The Match of the Day presenter was subjected to accusations of “virtue signalling” by conservatives, including the Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, after expressing his sympathy with the thousands of people risking their lives by crossing the English Channel in search of safety and security in Britain.

Lineker, who makes no secret of his liberal politics on social media, reacted to a photograph on the front page of The Times newspaper, featuring a lawyer who felt forced to flee Syria with her young daughter, by saying: “How could you not have empathy for people living this nightmare?”

When his statement was attacked by another Twitter user, who asked him, “Have you housed any yet Gary?”, the former England striker replied, “Not yet”, accompanied by a screenshot of an email from a refugee sheltering charity proving he had submitted an offer to host a guest.

Lineker appeared to have called the bluff of critics who suspected him of being superficial.

MP Anderson had told talkRADIO: “If Gary Lineker wants to email me his full name, address, postcode and details of the accommodation that he currently resides in, I will make sure that’s available for the next boat of illegal immigrants to come and live in – bed and breakfast of course.

“It’s the liberal left again, virtue signalling, trying to say all the right things, trying to tweet out the right messages on social media to look popular.”

Anderson added: “But I’ll tell you what, it’s not popular, because the silent majority in this country are right behind the common sense group.”

Lineker was quick to hit back on Twitter, writing: “He’s probably in the ‘all lives matter’ camp, except they don’t to these people.”

The retired footballer also said: “Can we make it clear that not everyone in this country is heartless and completely without empathy.

“These poor people deserve the help of their fellow human beings.”

Lineker’s Surrey mansion has received special attention in recent months after it was turned into a makeshift TV studio for a BBC podcast.

It could now become an important refuge for someone desperate to escape war-torn, pandemic-ridden or economically barren places.

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