BBC chair Richard Sharp has asked the nominations committee of the broadcaster's board to review any potential conflicts of interest after allegations emerged that he helped Boris Johnson secure a loan of £800,000.

Sharp reportedly helped the former PM secure the cash just weeks before he was recommended for the top job at the state broadcaster. 

In a statement reported by the BBC, Sharp said he wanted to ensure that “all the appropriate guidelines have been followed”.

He said: “We have many challenges at the BBC and I know that distractions such as this are not welcome.

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“Our work at the BBC is rooted in trust. Although the appointment of the BBC chairman is solely a matter for the Government… I want to ensure that all the appropriate guidelines have been followed within the BBC since I have joined.

“The nominations committee of the BBC board has responsibility for regularly reviewing board members’ conflicts of interest.”

The broadcaster reported that Sharp “has agreed with the board’s senior independent director that the committee shall look at this when it next meets and, in the interests of transparency, publish the conclusions”.

In an email titled “A Message from the Chairman”, Sharp told staff: “Prior to my appointment, I introduced an old friend of mine – and distant cousin of the then Prime Minister – Sam Blythe, to the Cabinet Secretary, as Sam wanted to support Boris Johnson.

“I was not involved in making a loan, or arranging a guarantee, and I did not arrange any financing. What I did do was seek an introduction of Sam Blythe to the relevant official in Government.”

He said that he was appointed to his role at the broadcaster “on merit” and that the situation was a “distraction” from the BBC. 

The message continued: “At the time I was working in Downing Street as a special economic adviser to the Treasury during the pandemic, and I had submitted my application to be Chairman of the BBC. 

“I went to see the Cabinet Secretary and explained who Sam was, and that as a cousin of the Prime Minister he wanted to help him if possible. 

“I also reminded the Cabinet Secretary that I had submitted my application for the position of BBC Chairman. 

“We both agreed that to avoid any conflict that I should have nothing further to do with the matter. 

“At that point there was no detail on the proposed arrangements and I had no knowledge of whether any assistance was possible, or could be agreed.”

The email also told staff: “I look forward to continuing our work together.” 

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The UK Government have already insisted that all the correct processes were followed in Sharp’s appointment.

Sharp and Johnson have both denied any conflict of interest but Labour has reported the former prime minister to the parliamentary standards watchdog.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Richard Sharp was appointed as chairman of the BBC following a rigorous appointments process including assessment by a panel of experts, constituted according to the public appointments code.”

It comes after Foreign Secretary James Cleverly claimed that Sharp was appointed as BBC chair on "merit".

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked about the situation during a visit to a hospital in Northamptonshire.

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He said: “The appointment was obviously made by one of my predecessors before I became Prime Minister.

“The appointments process itself for appointing the BBC chairman is a rigorous process, it is independent, there are two stages to it, it is transparent and published online.

“Mr Sharp’s appointment went through that full process.”

Meanwhile, Johnson was grilled on the allegations against him on Sky News on Monday morning.

He said: “This is a load of complete nonsense – absolute nonsense. Let me just tell you, Richard Sharp is a good and wise man but he knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances – I can tell you that for 100% ding dang sure.

“This is just another example of the BBC disappearing up its own fundament.”

Downing Street also denied that the appointment was an example of "cronyism". The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "There are processes in place to ensure that these appointments are done properly.

"That was followed in this instance."