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Dan Snow: 'The BBC shutting down Gary Lineker was not very clever'

The TV presenter said Lineker's reference to Nazi Germany was a fair comparison.

Watch: Dan Snow has defended Gary Lineker's 1930s Germany tweet

TV historian Dan Snow has said the BBC trying to fire Gary Lineker over his political opinions is "not a terrific look".

The TV presenter son of journalist Peter Snow also said the Match Of The Day host's reference to Nazi Germany in his criticism of the Home Office's crackdown on Channel crossings was a fair comparison.

Snow told Times Radio: "If you're looking to say we have nothing in common with 1930s German, immediately shutting down the person who said that and trying to get them fired — that is not a good look.

Read more: Lucien Laviscount issues expletive-fuelled rant at government over Gary Lineker row

"Perhaps demonstrating that you're very happy with that free speech and [so] choose to ignore it, that might have been a cleverer way to handle it for those who disagreed with him."

Dan Snow The Oldie Literary Lunch 13/11/18
Dan Snow The Oldie Literary Lunch 13/11/18

Lineker became embroiled in a row and was taken off air after he publicly criticised the government on social media.

Referencing home secretary Suella Braverman's plan to keep migrant boats from entering the UK, Lineker wrote: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful."

He added: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?"

Snow said many "clever" historians agreed with Lineker's comment.

Match of the Day host Gary Lineker
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker was taken off air by the BBC in the wake of his comments. (BBC)

He said: "The language of the 1930s became about 'othering' — picking on a group in society and giving them a disproportionate agency of the problems that working men and women face. Clearly migrant boats is a problem that people are very exercised about, but it's less likely to affect your life than the cost of childcare or the ability to make your next mortgage payments in light of increasing rates.

"I think what he was referring to is [the rise of the Nazis] didn't begin with massive genocide, it began with a slow attritional process of undermining people's personhood and creating an 'out' group in order to bolster power of an entrenched political interest.

"The problem on the other side is it's clearly deeply offensive to victims of Fascism and the tens of millions of people who died in the middle of the 20th century and whose lives were ruined."

But the historian added that he did not believe it was a sacking offence.

Historian and television presenter Dan Snow unveils the 70th anniversary 'Dambuster' painted RAF Tornado jet at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.   (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dan Snow said he could see how the tweet might offend some people but that didn't make it a firing offence. (Getty Images)

Snow added: "I don't think you can fire someone for that tweet, you can disagree with it. It wasn't a grotesque sackable offence.

"Particularly given the hypocrisy of certain other presenters on the BBC using their twitter to celebrate things like Brexit or whatever else."

BBC Director-General Tim Davie has now confirmed the corporation has reached an agreement with Lineker and he will return to screens, without having to apologise for his comments.

Read more: Should Gary Lineker lose his job at the BBC? Have your say

Lineker tweeted in response: "After a surreal few days, I’m delighted that we have navigated a way through this. I want to thank you all for the incredible support, particularly my colleagues at BBC Sport, for the remarkable show of solidarity. Football is a team game but their backing was overwhelming..."