Johnson ‘was told to stop seeking advice on financial matters from Sharp’
Boris Johnson is said to have been told to stop asking Richard Sharp for “advice” on his “personal financial matters”, just days before Mr Sharp was announced as the BBC’s new chairman.
According to The Sunday Times, then prime minister Mr Johnson was warned by officials on December 22, 2020 to stop discussing his financial arrangements with Mr Sharp, who will be announced as chairman of the company. BBC on January 6, 2021.
The former banker has faced calls to resign after it was reported that in late 2020 he had referred Sam Blyth to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to discuss whether Mr Blyth, a distant cousin of Mr Johnson, whom Mr Sharp has known for more than 40 years, could act as a guarantor for a loan to the prime minister.
Mr Sharp has previously said he would stay in place, with the BBC president due to be questioned by MPs next month about the controversy.
A spokesman for the former prime minister said Mr Sharp “never gave Boris Johnson any financial advice, nor did Mr Johnson seek any financial advice from him”.
They added: “Neither Mr Johnson nor anyone representing him is aware that Sam Blyth is being considered for any role at the British Council, nor has Mr Johnson had any discussions with Sam. Blyth or anyone else of any such role.
“Neither Mr Johnson nor anyone representing him spoke to anyone in the FCDO about Mr Blyth for any public appointments.”
A spokesperson said that “throughout this process, as documents obtained by The Sunday Times demonstrate, Mr Johnson followed the advice and took the necessary steps to ensure integrity. All claims have been made true.”
The newspaper, citing a leaked Cabinet Office memo, said the advice was given by top civil servant Mr Case after Mr Johnson and Mr Sharp sought advice on accepting an 800,000 loan. board from Mr. Blyth.
Mr Johnson is said to have secured the loan in February 2021.
The newspaper quotes Mr Case’s advice, which states: “With the announcement of the imminent appointment of Richard Sharp as BBC’s new president, it is important that you no longer seek his advice on financial matters. my own personal.”
Publicity appointing commissioner William Shawcross has said he plans to investigate Mr Sharp’s appointment as BBC chairman, following the first series of reports last week.
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Mr Sharp told BBC News last week he was “comfortable” with the way the process was conducted.
The newspaper also reported that Mr Blyth had appeared on the Foreign Office’s list of four proposed candidates during the British Council’s search for chief executive, given his family ties to Mr Johnson. not disclosed to high-ranking councilors.
Mr Blyth told the paper he had self-excluded on December 7, 2020 and had not officially filed.
“I believe my name may have been suggested by civil servants trying to identify potential candidates at the search stage of the appointment process,” he said.
The head of the Liberal Democrats, Wendy Chamberlain, called on the Government to release Mr Johnson’s internal register of interests.
This government must clean up and make all relevant documents public, including Boris Johnson’s internal register of interests, so that we can dig deep into this matter.Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat
She said: “How can Johnson claim that Richard Sharp knows nothing about his personal finances when he has been explicitly asked by officials to stop asking for his financial advice?
“The public is fed up with the endless lies and cover-ups of the Conservatives. This government must clean up and make public all relevant documents, including Boris Johnson’s internal register of interests, so that we can dig deep into this matter.”
Mr. Sharp said last week that “having discussed with the Cabinet Secretary about conflict avoidance and perception of conflict, I feel comfortable and I still feel there is no conflict because at that stage, that’s what what I’m trying to do is make sure the process is followed exactly as per the book and that the process hasn’t started, in any way, in terms of any support Sam (Blyth) would provide prime minister “.
“I have clarified and agreed with the Cabinet Secretary, we both have the view that I want to avoid conflict or perceive conflict.”
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/johnson-was-told-to-stop-seeking-advice-on-financial-matters-from-sharp-42317529.html Johnson ‘was told to stop seeking advice on financial matters from Sharp’