Reform UK leader Richard Tice has labelled Gary Lineker and Boris Johnson “clowns” – and claimed that people like them “talking nonsense and worrying people” are to blame for the UK’s mental health crisis.
It comes as new analysis reportedly shows that nearly four million people are being paid jobless benefits without ever having to look for work, due to long-term health conditions. This follows a surge in benefit claims for mental health during lockdown and the Covid pandemic, when face-to-face health checks were replaced with remote assessments, official data shows.
Tice, 58, criticised the Match of the Day presenter for speaking out on climate change, after Lineker claimed environmental activists would be remembered as “heroes”, despite disrupting people’s daily lives. The former footballer was also handed a ‘sport and human rights’ award from Amnesty International, for his “staunch advocate for the rights of refugees and migrants”.
Reform UK leader Richard Tice
Tice was talking to Dan Wootton on GB News and didn’t hold back when giving his forthright views on the ex-England striker. He said Lineker’s views on climate change are akin to former prime minister Boris Johnson when he was “scaring people with lockdowns”.
“He has not a clue what he is talking about,” said Tice of Lineker. “The man is a clown.
“He’s not a great football commentator in my view and he’s got no idea what he’s talking about with regard to the climate debate. There is no climate crisis, there is no climate emergency, it’s absolutely absurd.
“They’re deliberately scaring young people, in the same way Boris Johnson scared people with lockdowns. Why do you think we’ve got a mental health crisis? Clowns like that talking nonsense and worrying people.”
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Tice’s comments come as climate scientists warned that failing to limit the global temperature to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could trigger tipping points and lead to the collapse of life on Earth. Professors Johan Rockstrom and David King told the ‘Opening the Innovation Zero Congress in London’ yesterday (Wedneseday, May 24) that our current path will make vast areas around the tropics uninhabitable for humans.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that current climate policies will leave the Earth between 2.5C and 2.7C hotter by 2100 compared with pre-industrial levels. It has already warmed by 1.2C, with the World Meteorological Organisation warning there is a two-thirds chance of scientists recording a 1.5C temperature sometime in the next five years – although for now, only temporarily.
However, Tice’s comments found some support on social media. ‘Susan’ wrote: “Very true. All we hear about nowadays is the ‘mental health’ crisis and yet we are bombarded by doom and gloom merchants and sanctimonious virtue signallers trying to make us feel guilty about everything, so it’s hardly surprising.”
And CazB wrote: “If he knew what he was talking about it would be useful. Problem is, his fan base will listen and believe everything he says.”
But ‘Netrocyn’ appeared to suggest Tice was also guilty of “scaring” people. They said: “In which case Tice is contributing to the mental health crisis about immigration.”
Tice has been very vocal about the migrant crisis and called for “zero tolerance” on “illegal immigration”. Writing in the Telegraph last month, he said: “In my view, the only ‘Net Zero’ the British people really want is Net Zero immigration. Our small island is bursting at the seams, with some of the highest population densities in Europe.”
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