Learn this from the latest Boris Johnson scandal: never again should a PM appoint the BBC chair
Richard Sharps BBC chairmanship hangs by a thread over the assistance he gave to Boris Johnson when the then prime minister found himself in personal financial difficulties, and Sharps application to become BBC chair was approaching the final stages. On Monday the chair told staff that Our work at the BBC is rooted in trust, and that he looked forward to continuing our work together. So should we trust him? And should he continue in the job?
We have been here before. Almost 20 years ago, the chair of the BBC was also a multimillionaire who had been a former partner at Goldman Sachs. His wife was a private secretary to the prime minister and the chair himself had been a donor to the political party in power, as well as a member of it, before he took up the BBC job. His director general too had been a member of, and donor to, that same political party, and he too had resigned from it before becoming DG. I speak, of course, of (Lord) Gavyn Davies, Greg Dyke and the Labour party.
However, one could hardly accuse the two men of going soft on the Labour government, since both decided to resign in 2004, following the Hutton inquiry into allegations made by a BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan. He had reported that Tony Blairs government sexed up a report in order to exaggerate the weapon of mass destruction capabilities of Saddam Hussein.
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