Starmer demands Sunak ‘stand up to snowflake MPs’ over BBC Lineker row

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Sir Keir Starmer demanded Rishi Sunak “stand up to his snowflake MPs”, accusing them of trying to “cancel” Gary Lineker. The Labour leader accused the PM of “hiding behind the playground bullies” after his own MPs demanded the BBC sack Gary Lineker.

Speaking across the House of Commons from Mr Sunak at PMQs, Sir Keir said: “Last summer the Prime Minister said he wanted to protect free speech and stop no-platforming. In light of that, how concerned was he about his campaign from Tory MPs to cancel a broadcaster?”

The Prime Minister said it was a matter for the BBC and Mr Lineker to resolve, adding that he is glad they have come to an agreement.

Hitting back at the Labour leader, he accused him of the “usual political opportunism” over his attacks.

Sir Keir also questioned the position of BBC chairman Richard Sharp, asking: “Does the Prime Minister think his friend’s position is still tenable?”

Mr Sharp was found to have helped Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan.

But Mr Sunak distanced himself from the BBC chairman, saying the appointment as made before he became Prime Minister.

Tweeting from benches in response to Sir Keir’s comments about free speech, Tory MP Rosie Duffield said: “Glad to hear Keir Starmer defending free speech and criticising the no-platforming of those we may not agree with at PMQs. I hope that means all women, including academics and Labour membership groups such as Labour Womens Declaration, previously denied a platform at Labour Conference?”

The back and forth between the Labour and Conservative leaders was met with roars from both sides of the House, in what was a lively pre-budget PMQs.

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told off Tory MPs for being too noisy, asking whether – on the biggest day of the year for the house – they want “to carry on cheering”.

Many MPS shouted back: “Yes!”

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