Gary Lineker joins campaign for second UK Brexit referendum

He has joined the People's Vote group as they launch a series of rallies

Gary Lineker joins campaign for second UK Brexit referendum

British former footballer and sports broadcaster Gary Lineker attends the premiere of the James Bond film 'Spectre' in London in 2015 | Image: Hubert Boesl/DPA/PA Images

Former England footballer Gary Lineker is backing a campaign for a second Brexit referendum in the UK by declaring: "Some things in life are more important than football."

He has joined forces with the People's Vote group there, as they launch a series of rallies and protests calling for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Lineker, who has regularly been vocal about the UK's departure from the EU on social media since the Leave vote in 2016, said: "I spent most of the last few weeks totally focused on a fantastic World Cup.

"But it was impossible to avoid what was happening in the Brexit debate back home.

"Now I'm back I find the whole thing more bewildering and worrying than ever.

"Whether you voted Leave or Remain, did anyone really vote for the mess we seem to be in, let alone the prospect of no deal with all the terrible consequences attached to that?"

Lending his support to the People's Vote campaign, the sportsman-turned-broadcaster claimed Brexit "feels like it is going very wrong indeed".

He added: "The politicians seem unable to resolve the problem the people gave them in voting to Leave.

"That is why I think there should be a People's Vote on the final deal, and why I am sending best wishes and good luck to the campaigners who will be stepping up the pressure over the summer."

People's Vote campaign

As host of the BBC's Match of the Day, Lineker is the corporation's highest paid on-air talent.

A BBC source said that Lineker's position as a freelance broadcaster, and a presenter who does not front news or politics programmes, means he is clear of rules on impartiality.

The People's Vote campaign will hold rallies in cities including Bristol, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Cambridge, Cardiff, Liverpool and Birmingham over the next three months.

The group's so-called "summer of action" will culminate in a march through central London on October 20th, which they are promising will be the "biggest Brexit protest yet".

On the two-year anniversary of the Brexit vote last month, more than 100,000 joined a previous People's Vote march in London calling for a referendum on the UK's final departure deal, according to organisers.

Campaigners hope to step up pressure on MPs ahead of them holding a parliamentary vote on any agreement Prime Minister Theresa May strikes with Brussels, which is due by the end of October.

They hope to deploy a one million-strong army of internet activists to contact friends and family to write to MPs and address key groups of voters through social media.