BBC Chairman Resigns Over Reports Of Dealings With Ex-PM

BBC Chairman Resigns Over Reports Of Dealings With Ex-PM

BBC Chairman Richard Sharp has reportedly resigned after a recent investigation disclosed his dealings with UK ex-prime minister Boris Johnson before his appointment.

Richard Sharp, according to the report, revealed that the chairman had created the appearance of a conflict of interest by not disclosing fully his knowledge of the ex-PM’s personal finances.This caused his position to come under watchful eyes when it was disclosed that he tried to secure a high-level government meeting for a businessman who was offering Mr. Johnson financial help.

Mr Sharp however defended the interaction saying he did not want to be a distraction.

A report led by barrister Adam Heppinstall was published on Friday, after several rumors surrounding the BBC chairman’s position and discussions about BBC independence.

A probe was set up after reports revealed in the Sunday Times disclosed that Mr. Sharp, a close associate of Mr. Johnson, played a role in the prime minister’s personal finances during the same period he was securing the post of chairman at BBC.

Mr. Sharp tried to arrange a meeting in 2020, between Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and Sam Blyth, who is a distant cousin of Mr. Johnson, who was offering to support the prime minister financially after reading press reports that he was struggling to provide for himself.

The ex-investment bank and Conservative Party donor, Mr Richard Sharp had already applied for the post of Chairman at BBC when he reached out to Mr Case and he later got the appointment a few months later.

The report also disclosed that he had failed to reveal two potential perceived misunderstandings of interest: first, which was telling Mr. Johnson he was applying for the BBC role before doing so while the second, was Mr. Sharp telling the prime minister, he was setting up a meeting between Mr. Case, the country’s most senior civil servant, and Mr. Blyth.

The report also notes that Mr. Sharp did not agree with the first conclusion, but he offered an apology for the second, although he described it as “inadvertent and not material’

The report also disclosed “there is a risk of a perception that Mr. Sharp was recommended for appointment” because he sought to assist the PM in a private financial matter “and/or that he influenced the former prime minister to recommend him by informing him of his application before he submitted it”.

The report also described Mr Sharp’s involvement in Mr Johnson’s private financial affairs as “very limited” but he concluded that it should have been declared anyway. However, the meeting between Mr. Case and Mr. Blyth did not subsequently take place.