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23 June, 2024
 
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BBC chairman resigns over conflict of interest

Richard Sharp broke the rules for failing to disclose he helped Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan

Source: Sky News

Richard Sharp has resigned as chairman of the BBC after a report found he broke the rules by failing to disclose the role he played in helping Boris Johnson secure an £800,000 loan.

Adam Heppinstall KC's review found the former Conservative donor twice breached the code governing public appointments, risking the perception he was not independent of the then-prime minister.

Mr. Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has spared Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from being forced to decide on his fate by announcing he will stand down from the influential role overseeing the public broadcaster's independence at the end of June.

Following the publication of the report, Mr. Sunak said he had not seen the report or spoken to Mr. Sharp following his resignation.

The prime minister also told journalists: "When concerns are raised, it is right there is a proper process, an independent process that we don't prejudge, we allow it to carry on, establish the facts of what happened, reach a conclusion.

"That has happened, Richard Sharp has resigned. But it is right that we do these things properly and professionally, I think most people will think that is the right thing to do."

Asked if Mr. Sharp's replacement should be a non-political appointment, Mr. Sunak said he was "focused on delivering for the British people".

Meanwhile, Mr. Johnson remained tight-lipped when asked about Mr. Sharp as he left his home this morning prior to the release of the report.

In his resignation statement, Mr. Sharp insisted that his breach of the rules was "inadvertent and not material".

"Nevertheless, I have decided that it is right to prioritize the interests of the BBC," he added.

"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."

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