BBC chairman made “significant errors of judgement” say MPs

Damian Green

Pictured Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office

BBC chairman Richard Sharp is under pressure this morning following a critical report by a committee of UK Members of Parliament into the nature of his appointment. The DCMS committee said that Sharp made “significant errors of judgement” when failing to declare his role in facilitating a loan to former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The opposition Labour Party has called his position “increasingly untenable”.

The BBC chairman has been under the spotlight for weeks following revelations in The Sunday Times that he paved the way for Johnson to receive an £800,000 loan from businessman Sam Blyth. Soon after, he was named BBC chairman by Johnson. Sharp has maintained that he did not help arrange a guarantee on the loan or give the former PM financial advice. However, he has apologised for not being more open.

In the report, published on Sunday, the committee said Sharp needed to “reflect on the potential damage caused to trust in the corporation”.

Acting chair of the DCMS committee Damian Green MP said: “The public appointments process can only work effectively if everyone is open and transparent, yet Richard Sharp chose not to tell either the appointment panel or our Committee about his involvement in the facilitation of a loan to Boris Johnson. Such a significant error of judgment meant we were not in the full possession of the facts when we were required to rule on his suitability.”

The committee report is not the end of the saga for Sharp. The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments is still looking into his appointment process. The BBC is also conducting its own review over any potential conflicts of interests.

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