Gary Lineker sends cryptic tweet as Boris Johnson partygate defence is released

Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker tweeted that “folk constantly tell fibs” less than an hour after Boris Johnson's legal defence over Partygate was published.

The former prime minister insisted in his written evidence to the Privileges Committee inquiry that his denials over lockdown parties in No 10 were made “in good faith” and based on what he “honestly” knew at the time.

Lineker tweeted shortly after the evidence was made public: “When folk constantly tell fibs, it's really difficult to know when they're telling the truth. I imagine it's even a challenge for themselves.”

He did not provide any context but Twitter users speculated that the post was about Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson is to appear before the Privileges Committee for up to four hours on Wednesday as he fields questions from a seven-strong group of senior MPs, who will determine whether he deliberately misled Parliament over what he knew about Downing Street gatherings.

The former England striker was asked to step back from presenting Match of the Day earlier this month after breaching BBC guidelines by tweeting about the Government’s asylum policy.

The BBC announced last week that he would be returning to the show after giving his assurance to Tim Davie, the director general, that he would abide by the rules pending the outcome of a review.

Lineker also strayed back onto the subject of asylum-seekers by retweeting a Guardian story headlined: “US describes conditions in Rwanda’s detention centres as harsh to life threatening.”

In its statement announcing that the presenter would be allowed back on air, Mr Davie said: “Impartiality is important to the BBC. It is also important to the public. The BBC has a commitment to impartiality in its Charter and a commitment to freedom of expression.

“That is a difficult balancing act to get right where people are subject to different contracts and on air positions, and with different audience and social media profiles.

“The BBC’s social media guidance is designed to help manage these sometimes difficult challenges and I am aware there is a need to ensure that the guidance is up to this task. It should be clear, proportionate, and appropriate.

“Accordingly, we are announcing a review led by an independent expert – reporting to the BBC – on its existing social media guidance, with a particular focus on how it applies to freelancers outside news and current affairs. The BBC and myself are aware that Gary is in favour of such a review.

“Shortly, the BBC will announce who will conduct that review. Whilst this work is undertaken, the BBC’s current social media guidance remains in place.”