Report into Richard Sharp’s appointment as BBC chairman due to be published

Richard Sharp and Boris Johnson (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)
Richard Sharp and Boris Johnson (House of Commons/PA) (PA Wire)

BBC chairman Richard Sharp is braced for a report into his appointment to the role after he helped facilitate an £800,000 loan guarantee for Boris Johnson.

The investigation by barrister Adam Heppinstall KC is expected to be published on Friday morning.

Mr Sharp, a former Conservative donor, was appointed to the influential role overseeing the public broadcaster’s independence in 2021.

But the former Goldman Sachs banker has faced calls to resign after it emerged he helped the then-prime minister arrange the loan.

MPs have already criticised Mr Sharp’s “significant errors of judgment”.

He has admitted introducing his friend Sam Blyth, a cousin of Mr Johnson who wanted to help him with his financial troubles, to the Cabinet Office in 2020.

In January the following year he was named as the Government’s preferred candidate to be BBC chairman.

The Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee confirmed his appointment but was not aware of his role in helping to facilitate the loan.

He formally took up the four-year appointment in February 2021.

But allegations of cronyism followed when the Sunday Times revealed the loan agreement.

Commissioner for Public Appointments William Shawcross announced he would review the way competition for the post was run to ensure it was in compliance with Whitehall rules.

But Mr Heppinstall was appointed to carry it out when Mr Shawcross recused himself because he had met the BBC chairman on previous occasions.

The DCMS committee in February said Mr Sharp had committed errors of judgment by failing to declare his role in the loan to the cross-party group of MPs before his appointment.

A spokesman for Mr Sharp said he “regrets” not telling them about his involvement with his old friend Mr Blyth, a Canadian businessman, “and apologises”.