BBC boss warns stars could be booted off social media for making political statements


BBC bosses will be able to boot luvvie stars off social media if they break impartiality rules the new Director General has warned.

Tim Davie told MPs that new guidelines would allow the BBC to suspend celebs and personalities Twitter accounts.

Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, answering questions in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee 

He hit out at stars like Gary Lineker who frequently makes political statements online.

Mr Davie told the Culture Committee: “We will be able to take disciplinary action. We will be able to take people off Twitter. I know people want to see hard action on this.”

He told MPs that Mr Lineker, who has just signed a new five-year contract with the broadcaster, with a 23 per cent pay cut – from £1.75 million to around £1.35 million would be included in new social media rules – albeit to a lower bar than his colleagues who work in news.

Speaking to MPs he said: “We are going to be publishing in the next few weeks, and this is imminent, clear social media guidelines, and they will cover both news and current affairs, and beyond news and current affairs.

“We will have, within those guidelines the enforcement policies will be very clear.

“We will be able to take disciplinary action. We will be able to take people off Twitter. I know people want to see hard action on this.”

“If they want to work for the BBC, I can ask people, you would suspend their Twitter account, absolutely.”

He added: “We will issue some clearer social media rules and guidelines, I think the bar will be higher for those working in news and current affairs, but there will also be a bar for those working in BBC talent across the organisation, across the genre.”

“If someone is the face of the BBC, I think entering partial party politics is the wrong place to be.”

Gary Lineker is the face of the BBC’s Match of the Day

Tory MP Steve Brine suggested that Mr Lineker had “mocked” the potential new rules, and the committee Chairman Julian Knight quoted the presenter who said he was “the face of his twitter account” online and not the BBC.

Mr Davie added: “I would note that Gary Lineker has actually been very clear in his statements recently, saying ‘I understand I have a responsibility while working at the BBC.’

“I am now the director general so I am running the show and in my view party political statements are not the right thing to be asking if they are a part of an impartial news organisation.

“I mean, we will come back with social media guidelines to make clear where the lines are.

“If someone is the face of the BBC I think entering into party politics seems to be not the right place to be and I’ve been very clear on that.”

Mr Lineker has frequently said that he was a freelancer hired by the BBC, but the director general said the public were “less bothered about contractual statuses.”