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BBC Chair made ‘significant errors of judgement’ over PM loan involvement, MPs say

12 February 2023

BBC Chair Richard Sharp made ‘significant errors of judgement’ when failing to declare his role in the facilitation of a loan to the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and should reflect on the potential damage caused to trust in the corporation.

The conclusion from the DCMS Committee comes following the hearing held with Mr Sharp on Tuesday. In a report published today, the Committee says that his omissions denied MPs the opportunity to fulfil their scrutiny role, as they were left without the full facts to make a judgement on his suitability when he appeared before the Committee for a pre-appointment hearing in January 2021. The report calls it ‘highly unsatisfactory’ that the Committee’s subsequent approval of his appointment has been cited by the Government as a defence that the process was properly followed.

The report calls on Mr Sharp to now consider the impact his actions will have on the trust in him, the BBC and the public appointment process and for the Government and all those involved to ensure future processes are not clouded by partial disclosure.

The Committee also notes that the issue of why the Cabinet Secretary believed Mr Sharp had been giving financial advice to Mr Johnson, which Mr Sharp denies, remains unresolved. The Cabinet Office should clear up the confusion immediately.

Chair's comment

Digital Culture Media and Sports Committee Acting Chair, 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 for the role of BBC Chair.”

Further information

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