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Do Muslims fail the Gary Lineker test, or is it just socially conservative Catholics?

Match of the Day presenting crisps salesman rules out Jacob Rees-Mogg as next Prime Minister

BY Iain Martin | iainmartin1   /  7 September 2017

Having been jumped on by outraged football and crisps fans on Twitter, when I observed as a lover of Walker’s crisps that they now make me think of Gary Lineker moaning about Brexit, it is with some trepidation that I mention Golden Gary’s latest foray into politics.

Those of you familiar with his goatee-stroking observations on Brexit will be aware that Gary is perhaps the most left-wing footballer since Graeme Le Saux caused a brief sensation by revealing in the 1990s that he actually read The Independent newspaper.

Now, Lineker has pronounced – between crisp adverts – for his followers on Jacob Rees-Mogg and abortion. Mogg was interviewed yesterday on the TV and confirmed that yes, as a traditional Catholic, he opposes abortion in all circumstances.

In response, Lineker tweeted:

“Jacob Rees-Mogg is entitled to his views however archaic they may be. But hopefully any plans for him to be the next PM will be aborted.”

That’s Mogg told. He is “entitled to his views” (thanks!) but he has failed the Lineker Test, the contemporary celebrity equivalent of the 17th and 18th century Catholic Test Acts.

As an agnostic lapsed Scottish presbyterian I hold no candle whatsoever – votive, scented or not – for Mogg or his views. But is he to be deemed unfit for high office because of his views on abortion and gay marriage, in short because he is a socially conservative Catholic? If so, does the Lineker Test only apply to Catholics? Or are Muslims – with anti-abortion views and even more socially conservative views on women and sexuality – also unsuitable for high office?

I am reminded of that letter years ago to the Daily Telegraph from an intelligent football fan when Glenn Hoddle had to resign as England manager for the crime of saying that he believed in reincarnation.

Does this mean, asked an English Hindu reader, that as a believer in reincarnation I am now banned from pursuing my ambition to become England football manager? Does this also apply to Sikh and Buddhist potential England managers too? Good question.