Steven Barnett speaks to the FT about the BBC chair and Boris Johnson’s loan

1 February 2023
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Last week it was revealed that the BBC chair, Richard Sharp, helped arrange a personal loan worth as much as £800,000 for Boris Johnson shortly before the then prime minister recommended him for the post. This raised questions about the relationship between the government and the BBC, as well as the BBC’s impartiality.

Speaking to the FT about these revelations Prof. Steven Barnett suggested that Sharp’s association with such a large loan to a serving prime minister while his application to head the BBC’s board was under consideration makes him an unsuitable guardian of the corporation’s independence. Barnett suggested that “it’s not rocket science: Sharpe should simply have said ‘I can have nothing to do with this’.”  Barnett goes on to say “the man he was being asked to help financially was the man who was ultimately to decide whether he was going to be BBC chairman”, before suggesting that “his position is unsustainable.”

The full article can be read on

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1 comment

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    As this article is behind the FT’s paywall it is not available to read. Perhaps, as author, you could make it available. If not, don’t include a click to read more.