Richard Sharp: The PM won't say whether he supports the BBC chairman who is facing criticism

Sharp Richard

Richard Sharp, chairman of the BBC, has turned down Rishi Sunak's full support.

Following revelations that he acted as a go-between for a loan guarantee for the previous prime minister Boris Johnson, Mr. Sharp is under investigation.

He committed "significant errors of judgment" in doing this when applying for the BBC position, according to a report by a committee of MPs.

He insists there was no conflict of interest and that he was hired on the basis of merit.

When asked about it on Monday, Mr. Sunak said he wouldn't "pre-judge" the outcome of the government's appointments watchdog's investigation.

When directly questioned about Mr. Sunak's confidence in Mr. Sharp, the official spokesperson for the prime minister responded, "Yes, we are confident the process was followed.

This was a two-stage process that included evaluation by a panel of advisors that was set up in accordance with the public appointments code. However, there has been a review of this procedure, and we will carefully consider that. ".

After a damning report by MPs revealed that the former banker made "significant errors of judgment" by serving as a middleman for Sam Blyth, a wealthy Canadian and distant relative of Mr. Johnson, pressure is mounting on him.

After reading media reports that the then-PM was having financial difficulties, Mr. Blyth declared he would be willing to serve as a guarantor on a loan for him that could be worth up to £800,000.

In order to set up a meeting between the two, Mr. Sharp, who was serving as a Treasury adviser at the time, spoke with Simon Case, the highest-ranking official in the nation.

He was told not to participate in the discussions going forward because he had already applied for the BBC job at the time.

Despite acknowledging that he later had a social gathering at Chequers with Mr Johnson and Mr. Blyth, Mr. Sharp insists his involvement in the matter came to an end with that one meeting.

The chairman is in charge of, among other things, preserving and safeguarding the BBC's independence and making sure the organization carries out its mission to inform, educate, and entertain.

According to BBC News, the BBC board will meet on Monday. According to a source who spoke with BBC News, no meetings were scheduled for this month.

The other board members have been contacted by BBC News for comment.

During a visit to Oldham, Mr. Sunak was asked about the appointment. He responded, "Obviously, this relates to a process that happened before I was prime minister.

"I can't speculate or predict the outcome of that process because it is still in progress, but I can say that it is an independent process that will look into it to ensure that all the rules and procedures were followed correctly. We will obviously wait for that report. It is currently being examined by the independent office of public appointments. ".

Following Mr. Sunak's remarks this morning, reporters pressed a Downing Street spokesman for the government's position.

We are confident that the procedure was followed, he said. But since the review is obviously still ongoing, I won't engage in speculation at this time. ".

When questioned a third time about whether the prime minister had confidence in Mr. Sharp or the selection process, Mr. Sunak's official spokesperson responded, "We are confident that a standard process was followed, and there is a review that is underway. ".

When asked if Richard Sharp still has the support of the prime minister during the fourth round of questioning, the spokesperson responded, "Yes, but again, I don't have much more to add beyond what I have already said.

. "

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