Richard Sharp has resigned as BBC Chairman, following the publication of the Hepinstall review into his appointment. Sharp will remain in post until a replacement can be found. In a statement, he said:
“Mr Heppinstall’s view is that while I did breach the governance code for public appointments, he states that a breach does not necessarily invalidate an appointment. Indeed, I have always maintained the breach was inadvertent and not material, which the facts he lays out substantiate. The Secretary of State has consulted with the BBC Board who support that view. Nevertheless, I have decided that it is right to prioritise the interests of the BBC. I feel that this matter may well be a distraction from the Corporation’s good work were I to remain in post until the end of my term. I have therefore this morning resigned as BBC Chair to the Secretary of State, and to the Board.”
A Sharp end…
Read the full independent report into his appointment below:
Richard Sharp must have been one of the few non-journalists in Westminster today pleased by the reshuffle, as it distracted many away from his grilling at the hands of the DCMS Select Committee. He continued insisting, as per Boris’s “100% ding dang sure” claim, that he knew nothing about the then-PM’s personal finances and was only involved as a go-between because he knew Sam Blyth, who approached him about wanting to help Boris out, and referred him to Simon Case. The committee will surely be champing at the bit to get Case in front of them…
Sharp struggled the most when asked about why he failed to flag the potential conflict of interest to the committee. He constantly referred back to his meeting with Simon Case, who had agreed that he should have nothing further to do with the matter between Blyth and Johnson.
“I took comfort from that discussion I had from Mr Case.”
Implying that because he’d had the conversation, he then didn’t need to flag the issue to the committee. Kevin Brennan MP told him “I don’t think that’s good enough”…
BBC Chairman Richard Sharp is to appear before the DCMS Select Committee in early February to answer questions about the Sunday Times report on him and Boris.
Guido reckons that last week the Sunday Times got over excited about a shadowy conspiracy, based around a shady dinner at Chequers, which they reported was held before Richard Sharp was appointed chairman of the BBC. The strong implication of the piece (and it was written with only the implication rather than any proof) was that there must have been a quid pro quo. Unfortunately for them Richard Sharp has now checked his diary – the dinner was in May 2021, after he had been made BBC chairman – months after the appointment process was completed in February 2021. Pogrund is a good reporter, this error is a rare slip up which has set a hare running… into a brick wall.
Sharp confirms he dined with Johnson and Blyth at Chequers. However, he says it was May 21 — after the loan was finalised in Feb 21.— Gabriel Pogrund (@Gabriel_Pogrund) January 24, 2023
We initially said it was before, after one party confirmed this & the other refused to comment.
Happy to make his post-publication position clear https://t.co/g8jbwBdtyt
Since Sharp is always framed in the media as a Tory supporter, Guido suggests that the Committee ask him if he has made donations to any other political parties (he has), whether he supported any Labour candidates financially, for example if he gave money to Gerard Coyne’s campaign to become the Unite General Secretary. The DCMS Select Committee could be revelatory in unanticipated ways…
Boris speaking to Sky about the Sunday Times Richard Sharp story:
“This is a load of complete nonsense, absolute nonsense. Let me just tell you, Richard Sharp is a good and man but he knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances – I can tell you that for 100% ding dang sure. This is just another example of the BBC disappearing up its own fundament.”