Gary Lineker has spoken out for the first time after the BBC told him he needed to step back from his role on Match of the Day

It comes after the former footballer made comments criticising the government's new asylum policy.

Now speaking for the first time via text since the BBC's decision, Lineker told Channel 5 news presenter Dan Walker that "they've [the BBC] have told me I have to step back".

Walker read out the message live on air, saying: "I'm actually texting the man himself and I've asked Gary Lineker the question about whether he is stepping back or whether the BBC has told him to step back.

"I've told him that if he responded to me, I'll read that text on air.

"There's one word in there I can't use.

"He has said: 'No they've [the BBC] have told me I have to step back'."

Walker added: "Gary Lineker wants to continue presenting Match of the Day and is not apologising for what he said but he says it is a BBC decision to force him to not present the program at the moment."

What did Gary Lineker say?

On Tuesday Lineker had commented on a Twitter video put out by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, in which she unveiled government plans to stop migrant boats crossing the Channel.

“Good heavens, this is beyond awful,” he wrote.

Responding to the sports broadcaster, another Twitter user described his comment as “out of order”, adding that it was “easy to pontificate when it doesn’t affect you”.

Lineker responded: “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?”