Jonathan Dimbleby, a veteran broadcaster, has called for BBC Chairman Richard Sharp’s resignation due to Sharp’s role in facilitating an £800,000 loan for then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he was applying for the BBC job. Along with Baroness Wheatcroft and other voices, Dimbleby has criticised Sharp saying that he “should fall on his sword”, and the controversy has led to growing calls for him to step down. Sharp’s involvement in the loan has potentially risked causing significant damage to the BBC, according to Dimbleby, and his actions have caused a “cronyism row” that has put his position as BBC Chairman under intense scrutiny.
Despite a cross-party select committee report by MPs that found Sharp had made significant errors of judgment in facilitating the loan, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has continued to support him. The situation has now become increasingly tense and the controversy has raised concerns about the impartiality of the BBC and its structure of governance. The report concluded:
“Mr Sharp recognised the need to be open and transparent over facilitating an introduction of the then Prime Minister to Mr Blyth regarding the £800,000 loan guarantee and brought this to the attention of the Cabinet Secretary. However, he failed to apply the same standards of openness and candour in his decision not to divulge this information during the interview process or to this committee during the pre-appointment hearing”.
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