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UK Labour party calls for investigation into appointment process for BBC chair by former PM Johnson

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

UK opposition party has called for an investigation into the appointment process of the BBC chairman after it was revealed that he helped former Prime Minister Boris Johnson secure a loan guarantee in return for a recommendation for the job.

Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell has written to the Commissioner for Public Appointments, William Shawcross CVO, asking him to investigate the appointment process of Richard Sharp, the current chairman of the BBC, in the latest never-ceasing scandals coming up for Johnson.

“It is vital that the public and parliament can have trust in the process and it is free from any real or perceived conflict of interest. Accordingly, I urge you to investigate this process, and satisfy the public and parliament of its integrity,” Powell said in her letter.

The Labour party has already reported Johnson to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. However, Johnson has denied any conflict of interest over his role in appointing Sharp while in No 10.

Sharp, a former banker at Goldman Sachs, has also denied the allegations, but calls for clarity are growing after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly evaded answers on the story during media rounds.

The calls for a formal probe came after the Time newspaper reported on Saturday that Richard Sharp was involved in arranging a guarantor on a loan of up to £800,000 for Johnson to finance his Downing Street lifestyle in November and December 2020.

Lord Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service, has also emphasized the necessity of an independent investigation into the case.

“The position of the chairman of the BBC is an enormously important one for the country and you want the process for appointing a new person to be absolutely squeaky clean,” he said.

“There's plenty of routes where this could be examined, and the facts completely established, including to what extent the prime minister himself was aware of and involved in the discussions that went on here,” he added.

Putting further pressure on Johnson, the Labour party has also suggested that the former PM could have breached the code of conduct for MPs “through failing to appropriately declare the arrangement” on his Parliamentary register of interests.

Even after resigning from his role as the British Prime Minister, Johnson has brought with him a constant stream of scandals, as the public has still not moved on from the partygate.


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