The Labour party is calling for an investigation into the appointment process for the chairman of the BBC following allegations of “sleaze” involving current chairman Richard Sharp.
Sharp is accused of helping Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure a loan guarantee before being recommended for the job by Johnson himself.
Labour has already reported Johnson to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards after these allegations surfaced, but now Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell is asking the Commissioner for Public Appointments to investigate the appointment process.
However, in a surprising turn of events, Powell has also stated that she does not rule out appointing people with Labour party connections to senior positions at the BBC.
This has raised eyebrows as Labour has been consistently criticising the BBC for bias towards the Conservative party. Critics of Labour’s stance argue that if Labour is open to appointing party members to senior roles at the BBC, they cannot complain about political bias in the organisation .
The Sunday Times reported that Sharp, a Tory donor, arranged a guarantor on a loan of up to £800,000 for Johnson in late 2020. Sharp denied any conflict of interest, while Johnson’s spokesman insisted that his financial arrangements had been properly declared.
The Cabinet Office also defended Sharp’s appointment, stating that it followed a rigorous appointments process, which was confirmed by a House of Commons Select Committee.
The Labour party’s call for an investigation comes as they are preparing for the upcoming local and mayoral elections, and this issue could play a significant role in the election campaign.
With accusations of sleaze and potential conflicts of interest at the highest levels of government and the BBC, the public’s trust in these institutions is under scrutiny.
The outcome of the investigation into the appointment process for the BBC chairman could have significant implications for the future of the organisation and its perceived impartiality.