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Boris Johnson has been ordered to stop seeking advice from Sharp on financial matters

Boris Johnson has been ordered to stop seeking advice from Sharp on financial matters


Boris Johnson has reportedly been told to stop asking Richard Sharp for advice on his personal financial affairs, just days before Mr Sharp was announced as the BBC’s new chairman.

According to The Sunday TimesThen Prime Minister, Mr Johnson was warned by officials on December 22, 2020 to stop discussing his financial arrangements with Mr Sharp, who was due to be appointed chairman of the BBC on January 6, 2021.

The former banker was called to step down after it emerged that at the end of 2020 he introduced Sam Blyth to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to discuss whether Mr Blyth, a distant cousin of Mr Johnson whom Mr Sharp has known for more than 40 years, could vouch for a loan facility for the Prime Minister.

Mr Sharp had previously said he would stay in place, with the BBC chairman due to be quizzed by MPs next month over the controversy.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said Mr Sharp never gave Boris Johnson financial advice, nor did Mr Johnson ask him for financial advice.

They added: Neither Mr Johnson nor anyone acting on his behalf was ever aware that Sam Blyth was being considered for a role at the British Council, and Mr Johnson had no discussions with Sam Blyth or anyone else. another about such a role.

Neither Mr Johnson nor anyone acting on his behalf has spoken to anyone within the FCDO regarding Mr Blyth for public nomination.

The spokesperson said that throughout this process, as evidence obtained by The Sunday Times demonstrates, Mr Johnson followed advice and took steps to ensure probity. All statements have been made correctly.

The newspaper, citing a leaked Cabinet Office memo, said advice was issued by senior civil servant Mr Case after Mr Johnson and Mr Sharp sought advice on accepting the £800,000 loan from Mr. Blyth.

Mr Johnson is believed to have secured the loan in February 2021.

The newspaper cites advice from Mr Case, who said: “Given the imminent announcement of Richard Sharp as the new chairman of the BBC, it is important that you no longer seek his advice on your personal financial matters.

Public Appointments Commissioner William Shawcross has already said he plans to investigate Mr Sharps’ appointment as BBC chairman, following the first set of reports last week.

Mr Sharp told BBC News last week he was comfortable with the way the process had been conducted.

The newspaper also reports that Mr Blyth had appeared on a Foreign Office list of four candidates recommended during the search for the British Council’s chief executive, as his family links to Mr Johnson were not disclosed to senior officials at the advice.

Mr Blyth told the newspaper that he ruled himself out on December 7, 2020 and had not officially applied.

I believe my name may have been suggested by officials trying to identify potential candidates at the research stage of the appointment process, he said.

Safer BBC

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain called on the government to release Mr Johnson’s internal register of interests.

She said: How can Johnson claim that Richard Sharp knew nothing about his personal finances when officials explicitly told him to stop asking him for financial advice?

The public is tired of these endless lies and conservative cover-ups. This government needs to be clear and release all relevant documents, including Boris Johnson’s internal register of interests, so we can get to the bottom of this.

Mr Sharp said last week that after having a discussion with the Cabinet Secretary about how to avoid conflict and the perception of conflict I felt comfortable and I still think he does not there was no conflict because at this point what I was looking to do was make sure that the process was followed exactly by the book, and that the process hadn’t started, of any kind, in terms of support that Sam (Blyth) was going to provide to the Prime Minister.

I had clarified and agreed with the Cabinet Secretary, we both had the judgment that I had avoided a conflict or a perception of conflict.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: We do not comment on leaks.

Additional reporting by Press Association




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