The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons, one of the two chambers of the British Parliament, has found Richard Sharpe, chairman of the BBC, to have made “omissions” and “significant errors of judgement”.
Led by acting committee chairman Damian Green, it published a report on his conduct and the process behind Sharpe’s appointment to the BBC role amid recent allegations that he failed to disclose a potential conflict of interest. The report became public just after midnight on Sunday, days after the 66-year-old was questioned by the committee.
In his Tuesday appearance before it, Sharpe defended himself following recent news reports that suggested he had recommended Sharpe for his current role at the British public broadcaster weeks before the then Prime Minister of Britain Helped to arrange loan guarantees for Boris Johnson. , With his chair on fire, the BBC board then revealed that it would investigate the issue.
Sharp reiterated previous statements on the issue, saying on Tuesday, “I never gave financial advice to the former prime minister.” “I know nothing about his personal financial affairs,” he added later. “I didn’t provide the loan facility.” He also stated that “I believe I was appointed on merit.”
Sunday Times It reported last month that former Goldman Sachs banker Sharpe, 66, who has also been a donor to Johnson’s Conservative Party, was involved in arranging a guarantor for loans of up to £800,000 ($990,000) for Johnson, the now former prime minister. He had reached the final stages of the BBC Chair recruitment process. Sharp back then said that he “just connected” with Johnson and Johnson’s distant cousin Sam Blythe. “There is no conflict,” he argued, insisting that “he had no further involvement.”
A representative for Johnson said at the time that he had not received financial advice from Sharp. And a BBC representative said at the time: “The BBC plays no part in the Chair’s recruitment, and any questions are a matter for the Government.”
The parliamentary committee, however, criticized the BBC chairman. “Mr Sharpe recognized the need to be open and transparent in facilitating the then Prime Minister’s introduction to Mr Blyth in relation to the £800,000 loan guarantee and brought this to the attention of the Cabinet Secretary,” she wrote in her Sunday report. “However, he failed to apply the same standards of openness and candor in his decision not to disclose this information to this committee during the interview process (for the BBC presidency) or the pre-appointment hearing.”.
It also highlighted: “The process of public appointments can work effectively only when all those involved are open and transparent. … The Prime Minister, the panel and this committee are all integral parts of the BBC chairman’s appointment process, but only Mr Johnson was fully aware of Mr Sharpe’s potential conflict at the time of the appointment. The Government, and all those involved in the process of public appointments, should ensure that the process of future public appointments is not affected by partial disclosure.”
The committee report further noted that “there remains an unresolved issue regarding whether the Cabinet Secretary believed Mr Sharpe was providing financial advice to the then Prime Minister, which Mr Sharpe insists was They didn’t. The Cabinet Office should clear the confusion…immediately.”
The parliamentary committee concluded: “Richard Sharpe’s decision, firstly to be involved in facilitating a loan to the then Prime Minister as well as applying for a job gifted to the same person, and then failing to disclose this material concerned There were significant errors of judgement, which undermine confidence in the process of public appointments.”
Its report concluded with a suggestion to the BBC chairman: “Mr Sharpe should consider the effect his omission will have on him, the BBC and the process of public appointments.