BBC chairman Richard Sharp faces a grilling by MPs after the disclosure that he helped Boris Johnson secure a loan of up to £800,000 before the then-prime minister backed his appointment to lead the broadcaster.
Mr Sharp will appear before the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee on Tuesday morning to face questions on his involvement in Mr Johnson’s financial affairs before getting the job.
The cross-party panel of MPs is set to challenge him over his apparent failure to tell them about the arrangement at his pre-appointment hearing in January 2021.
The former Goldman Sachs banker came under fire after it emerged that, in late 2020, he introduced his friend Sam Blyth to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to discuss whether Mr Blyth, a distant cousin of Mr Johnson, could act as a guarantor for a loan facility for the then-prime minister.
Mr Sharp, a Tory donor, was in the process of applying for the BBC chairmanship when he made the introduction and then took up the role in February 2021.
Mr Sharp’s selection is under investigation by the public appointments watchdog and the BBC board’s nominations committee.
The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments is to review the way competition for the post was run to ensure it was in compliance with Whitehall rules.
On Monday, lawyer Adam Heppinstall KC was appointed to lead the watchdog’s investigation after public appointments commissioner William Shawcross recused himself last week, saying he had met Mr Sharp “on previous occasions”.
Mr Shawcross, who was recommended by Mr Johnson in his role as public appointments commissioner, is also the father of Eleanor Shawcross, head of No 10’s policy unit.
Mr Sharp has previously said he believed his selection process was conducted “by the book” and denied he had misled the DCMS committee when he appeared before.
He was summoned by acting DCMS committee chairman Damian Green, who wrote in a letter on January 24: “Following the recent media reports regarding your appointment as chair of the BBC, the committee would like to invite you to appear before it on the morning of 7 February.
“The committee intends to cover the issues raised in your pre-appointment hearing and any developments since then.”
A spokesman for the former prime minister said Mr Sharp has “never given any financial advice to Boris Johnson, nor has Mr Johnson sought any financial advice from him”.