BBC President Richard Sharp turns down loan role to Boris Johnson ahead of appointment

BBC chairman Richard Sharp refused to facilitate a loan of up to £800,000 to Boris Johnson before the then prime minister backed his appointment to head the broadcaster.

In the face of heavy criticism from MPs, Mr Sharp insisted he “didn’t arrange the loan” despite admitting he had referred his friend Sam Blyth, who wanted to help the then troubled prime minister. financial difficulties, with the Cabinet Office shortly before taking office. on the role of the BBC.

The former Goldman Sachs banker said he regretted causing “embarrassment to the BBC”, but appeared to show no remorse about withholding information about his involvement in the matter. Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee while he was on the Committee. run for BBC post.

Embroiled before the committee again on Tuesday, Mr Sharp admitted that he had acted as a “kind of referral agency” when arranging a meeting between Mr Blyth and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

I do not provide and have not provided the former prime minister’s personal financial adviceBBC President Richard Sharp

“As a middle man, I am not between Mr Blyth and Mr Johnson, but I am really looking to make sure that due process is followed by making sure Mr Blyth has been in contact with the Home Office. before he did anything to help his cousin,” he added.

Mr Sharp said he later raised with Mr Case “that I have applied to be president of the BBC and therefore to avoid conflict, or the perception of conflict, I could – and we agreed – no longer participate. in whatever happened, and I didn’t.

Mr Sharp admitted to having met Mr Johnson to discuss the BBC presidency before he applied but insisted their relationship was “widely professional”.

He told the then prime minister during their meeting that Mr Blyth wanted to meet Mr Case to see if he could support Mr Johnson financially, he revealed.

However, Mr Sharp said: “I do not provide and have not given personal financial advice to the former prime minister, I know nothing about his (financial) affairs, I have never done so.

“I do not facilitate loans…

“I have nothing to do with it, I am not involved in anything that happened or did not happen after that.

“I know nothing about the bank, I know nothing about the actual loan.”

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Boris Johnson (Andrew Boyers/PA)

The BBC chairman has been accused by MP Kevin Brennan of a “serious failure of judgment” by not telling the DCMS committee about the arrangement at a hearing ahead of his appointment in January 2021.

Asked if he regretted not doing so, Mr Sharp said: “Obviously I regret the situation.”

Emphasizing further, he said he was “comfortable” to put forward his application for the BBC role in the meeting with Mr Case.

He denied trying to hide his involvement because he thought it would never come to light.

The BBC’s chairman said: “Clearly this has caused embarrassment to the BBC and I regret that.”

He said that while he wished “we weren’t where we are”, “I acted in good faith to ensure that the rules were followed and in that sense I have no regrets about it.” there”.

He declined to say whether he would resign if a public appointments watchdog investigation criticized him for withholding information.

It is clear that Boris Johnson’s post as prime minister will be increasingly remembered as a series of sleazy scandals that have dragged Britain downWendy Chamberlain

He told MPs he would “need to see what results the investigation produces” and insisted he was “subject to a very rigorous interview process” and was recruited “for the sake of competence”. “.

Mr Sharp also accused the press of “misrepresenting” and spreading “substantial inaccuracies” about his involvement, including BBC journalists who were “guilty” for having ” repeat inaccuracies” from other agencies.

Rishi Sunak said Mr Sharp’s appointment appeared to have been made “in a serious and transparent manner”.

This is clearly about the appointment of a previous prime minister before I took the job so it is difficult for me to comment on it in detail.

“What I do know is that his appointment process is rigorous and transparent; it was approved by a panel of experts and is actually a cross-party selection committee in Congress.

“But it’s true that people trust the process and that’s why the independent commissioner of public appointments is reviewing the process to make sure everything is done correctly.”

William Shawcross, the commissioner in charge of public appointments, was set to investigate how Mr Sharp got the job, but declined last week, saying the pair had met “on certain occasions. previous occasion”.

Attorney Adam Heppinstall KC has now been appointed to lead the investigation.

The Liberal Democrats said Mr Sharp’s evidence “totally undermined” Mr Johnson’s earlier claims.

The head of the Lib Dem, Wendy Chamberlain, said: “Johnson has once again shown his true nature as the head of the liar.

“We have seen one cover-up after another by this Conservative Government and the public deserves complete transparency.

“It is clear that Boris Johnson’s post as prime minister will be increasingly remembered as a series of sleazy scandals that have dragged Britain down.” BBC President Richard Sharp turns down loan role to Boris Johnson ahead of appointment

Fry Electronics Team

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