Richard Sharp has suggested a friend for a paid job at the BBC
The BBC leader, who has been under fire, suggested a friend for a paying job advising the company, it has been reported.
Richard Sharp nominated Caroline Daniel, at whose wedding he served as usher, for a role in the £15,000-a-year editorial standards following a scathing report on the Martin Bashir scandal.
According to The Sunday Times, Mr Sharp introduced Ms Daniel – a political commentator and former Financial Times editor – to the BBC’s Senior Independent Director and took part in discussions about her appointment.
After it was discovered that the BBC had covered up “fraudulent conduct” by Mr Bashir, Ms Daniel was appointed to an independent Serota review panel in June 2021 and subsequently appointed as one of two independent editorial advisers in July 2022.
While Mr Sharp did not mention his relationship with Ms Daniel in his register of interests, which was released a month after she was given the advisory role, he believes he has made all necessary disclosures. The Telegraph understands the BBC’s relationship was revealed as part of the process.
Ms Daniel is yet to publish her own declaration of interests, which the BBC website says will be “released shortly”.
Mr Sharp’s appointment is currently under investigation after he admitted he acted as an “introduction agency” between a cousin of Boris Johnson and the Cabinet Office, resulting in the former Prime Minister receiving a reported £800,000 loan.
After the Gary Lineker affair, he was again asked to resign. Critics claimed he did not adequately defend the BBC and accused the broadcaster of double standards over Mr Sharp’s political past.
Oliver Dowden, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who oversaw Mr Sharp’s appointment during his time as Culture Secretary, said he had every confidence in the BBC chairman.
“First of all I should say that this was a due process and I have every confidence that I know it has been investigated,” Mr Dowden said with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday.
“I am confident that we have chosen the right person for the role of Chairman of the BBC and I have continued confidence in him.”
Ms Daniel, who is currently on holiday in the Maldives, told the Sunday Times her relationship with Mr Sharp was “fully disclosed” to relevant executives, in line with BBC requirements.
It is understood that Mr Sharp did not suggest Ms Daniel for the role because of their friendship, but because he felt she was well qualified. It is understood that he was not involved in the process other than being responsible for the nominating committee.
A BBC spokesman said: “These positions have been formally advertised externally and are open to anyone to apply. The appointment process was overseen by the Nominations Committee, in accordance with BBC Rules, and appointments were approved by the full BBC Board.
“This process clearly established the independence expectations required for the role and included full disclosure of all relevant conflicts of interest.
“We are completely satisfied that all processes and procedures have been fully complied with.”