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BBC ‘had no concerns’ over Richard Sharp’s integrity, report finds | Politics News

The BBC “had no concerns” about Richard Sharp’s integrity while he was employed as its chairman, a report from the broadcaster has said.

Mr Sharp resigned from his role last month after he failed to reveal his involvement in securing a £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson just weeks before the PM appointed him.

A report from independent KC Adam Heppinstall, requested by the government, found the former Conservative donor twice breached the code governing public appointments, risking the perception he was not independent from the then-prime minister.

But the BBC carried out its own probe into Mr Sharp’s adherence to BBC rules on conflicts of interest.

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The committee who looked into the ex-chairman was led by the BBC board’s senior independent director Sir Nick Serota – who has also led reviews into Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana and allegations against DJ Tim Westwood.

A statement released by the BBC said: “Based on the evidence they had reviewed, the committee were content to confirm that they had no concerns in respect of the chairman’s integrity whilst in the role.”

But they criticised Mr Sharp’s application for the post, saying: “The relevant declarations should have been made at the outset of his tenure, to avoid any potential perceived conflicts of interest.”

The report said failing to reveal the part he played in the loan was “not in line with clause 2.4 of the [BBC] board’s code of practice”.

However, they added: “The committee were also content, based on the evidence, that all other aspects of the code had been followed satisfactorily by the chairman during his time in the role.”

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As part of the report, the committee has now made recommendations to the broadcaster for future practice, including saying “greater attention [should be] paid to the disclosure of relevant personal and professional interests at the start of meetings”, with an “expectation there would be a high level of disclosure by board members”.

They also said the code of practice the organisation’s guidance should be looked at “to make sure they were clear enough that personal and political as well as professional or pecuniary relationships should be considered for disclosure”.

And there should be “a clearer process” to mark and minute meetings between the board and senior political figures.

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