What a mess Richard Sharp has got himself, the BBC and the government into. The former Goldman Sachs man is chairman of the Beeb board of governors yet it has been confirmed he was involved (present but not involved seems to be the excuse) in the establishment of an £800k credit facility to keep Boris “not a pot to piss in” Johnson solvent when he was PM and broke. Boris out of office is making millions. Back then he had Carrie on his back and he had been cleaned out in the divorce by his wonderful former wife, Marina. Sam Blyth set up a credit facility for him to tap, as you do.
The denial of “Sharpie’s” involvement was blown apart when Number 10 confirmed that Cabinet Secretary Simon Case had told him not to be involved. If Sharp had to be told not to be involved, but knew nothing of this business, why would Case tell him?
Sharp has a tangled web of political connections: as well as giving more than £400,000 to the Tories, Sharp is also close to Rishi Sunak, with whom he worked at Goldman Sachs. Sharp worked as an unpaid adviser to Sunak when he was Chancellor and putting together the Covid package in response to lockdown.
William Shawcross, the Commissioner of Public appointments, is to review the manner of Sharp’s appointment to the BBC post.
At the time of writing, Sharp is clinging to office. The question now is what will finish him off first. BBC staff leaking against him? Or the leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, intervening with force?
Sharp’s allies say he is going nowhere. He has done nothing wrong, and so on. But it should be obvious the situation is in practical political terms untenable, particularly this close to an election. Public institutions, and big business too, are starting to weigh all their decisions with that election in mind. The polls point to the Tories being flung from office. Starmer, out in front, can shape the argument.
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All Starmer needs to say, and keep repeating, is that he has serious concerns about impartiality, or even perceptions of a problem or doubt in that area, in light of this credit facility scandal. The opposition, and voters, have a right to know with an election coming that there is not the remotest whiff of any doubt. For the sake of the country and the BBC, Sharp must stand aside, the Labour leader will say with that grave look on his face.
The governors of the BBC are not stupid. There’s an election coming. They cannot afford to have this obstacle to orderly relations in place.
Now, or in a few weeks, Sharpie is for the Establishment high jump.
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