Following Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker being temporarily suspended by the BBC after he publicly criticised the government's asylum seeker policy, readers have had their say on the saga.

These are two reader's letters published in The Oxford Times this week: 

THANK goodness sports presenter Gary Lineker has spoken up about the plight of refugees. 

It is disgraceful that Home Secretary Suella Braverman has called desperate people in flimsy boats a ‘scourge’ and ‘an invasion’.

READ MORE: Botley Road delays caused by repairs for single customer

The BBC is publicly funded, but should be independent of any Government.

It should reflect a range of political views. News reporters have to be impartial.

But TV personalities should be able to express their strongly held political views from time to time.

Government threats to the licence fee have made the broadcaster too worried about offending the Tory Government. Suspending Mr Lineker is a BBC own goal.

John Tanner
Former Lord Mayor of Oxford

Witney Gazette: Click here to sign up to our newsletters hereClick here to sign up to our newsletters here (Image: Newsquest)

GARY Lineker is not the only UK citizen concerned about the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ which the government is trying to rush through Parliament. 

We object to this cruel plan which means that people who make a dangerous journey to the UK, seeking safety from war and persecution, will never have their asylum claim heard here. 

They will instead be locked up indefinitely, left in permanent limbo, under the perpetual threat of deportation.

The government’s stated aim is to eliminate the people-trafficking gangs, so that desperate migrants no longer risk their lives in flimsy boats.

Witney Gazette: Gary Lineker was criticising the government for its asylum policy Gary Lineker was criticising the government for its asylum policy (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

But a more effective way to do this would be to set up online or distance methods for migrants to submit asylum claims, as was done in the case of Ukrainians fleeing the war in their country. 

According to the Refugee Council, the UK currently hosts approximately one per cent of the 27 million people around the world who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

Other European countries accept much higher numbers of asylum seekers than the UK.

We believe that people seeking protection from war and persecution should be welcomed, and that everyone’s claim for asylum should be treated equally and fairly.

We urge readers to support compassionate methods of supporting our fellow humans in need across the world, including their right to seek sanctuary in the UK.

Meg Thomas
On behalf of Oxford Unitarians Social Justice Group
Harris Manchester College