GARY Lineker may have breached BBC social media guidelines with a Twitter/X spat with Tory MPs, according to the Government’s candidate to be the corporation’s new chair.

The Match of the Day presenter found himself embroiled in an online row with backbencher Jonathan Gullis who criticised Lineker for signing an open letter against the Government’s Rwanda bill.

And he also took aim at Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, after the minister suggested the former England striker was “meddling” in politics.

Tory MPs have accused Lineker of breaching the BBC’s new social media rules, which had to be brought in as a result of a separate row between the presenter and the corporation earlier this year.

Under questioning at the Common’s media committee, Samir Shah, who has been nominated to chair the BBC, said Lineker’s tweets may have breached the corporation's social media rules.

READ MORE: Gary Lineker attacks Tory MP Jonathan Gullis in BBC 'impartiality' spat

Asked by Damian Green MP if he thought Lineker was giving the BBC “two fingers” with his political posts, Shah added: “Were I to be chair, first of all I would be thinking if we have the balance right between freedom of expression and the duty to be impartial, it’s very clear when it comes to news and current affairs and when it’s not, but there is this grey area in which Mr Lineker sits and I share your frustration and I would invite the director-general and his team to find a solution.”

But he said signing the letter was not in itself a breach of the rules.

Shah said he did not think it was “helpful” that Lineker had signed a letter calling for the Government to scrap its Rwanda scheme and for political leaders to come up with a “fair new plan for refugees” but did not see that as a breach of the rules.

Speaking before MPs at a pre-appointment hearing, he said: “I don’t think it was very helpful either for Gary Lineker or the BBC or the cause he supports because it becomes a story about Gary Lineker and the BBC.”

He added: “As far as I’m aware, the signing of the letter did not breach those guidelines.

“But the more recent tweet in which he identifies a politician does, on the face of it, seem to breach those guidelines.

“I’m not sure how egregious it is but I imagine the BBC is looking into it and considering its response.”