THE Foreign Secretary has said that Richard Sharp’s appointment as BBC chair was made on merit.

This comes following reports that Sharp helped former prime minister Boris Johnson arrange a guarantee on a loan of up to £800,000 weeks before he was recommended for the job.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC that it is not unusual for someone to be politically active before being appointed to a role like chairman of the BBC.

He said Sharp is an “incredibly accomplished, incredibly successful individual” who brings a “wealth of experience” to his role.

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He continued: “That is why he was appointed to chairmanship of the BBC, but I’ve not had the chance to discuss any of the issues that were brought up today, but I have absolutely no doubt he was appointed on merit, and the point that I would just remind people of is it is not unusual, and indeed there is nothing wrong, for someone to be politically active prior to their appointment to senior BBC positions.

“That’s something that has happened pretty regularly in the past.”

During the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, the host explained they had approached Sharp for an interview but that he declined the opportunity.

Labour have already referred Johnson to a standards watchdog while the SNP have likewise called for an investigation into the allegations made against Johnson.

Shadow treasury Minister Pat McFadden told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I feel more than the individual cases, this is really corrosive to governance and government, there are big problems facing the country.

“We need good government. I think it’d be a tragedy if the result of all this was for people to just simply turn away from politics and say, ‘they’re all a bunch of crooks and thieves’.”

A spokesman for Johnson said that Sharp had never given the former prime minister financial advice and that all his financial arrangements had been “properly declared and registered on the advice of officials”.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC plays no role in the recruitment of the Chair and any questions are a matter for the Government.”

Also appearing on the programme was Johnson’s sister Rachel who denied any knowledge of her brother’s financial affairs before reports emerged in The Sunday Times. 

She said: “All the parties involved have given statements to The Sunday Times, which suggest they did everything above board and everything was transparent. 

“I suggest you ask Simon Case, who seems to be the linchpin in both these stories, to come on and say what happened.”