RICHARD Sharp, the Tory donor installed at the top of the BBC chair by Boris Johnson’s government, will likely be forced to step down after the findings of a “grim” report into his appointment are published, according to reports.

The Financial Times said that Sharp had been given foresight of the conclusions of a draft report into the process which saw him given the top BBC role – despite having no prior media experience.

A source with knowledge of the report’s conclusions told that paper: “It may be that Richard decides to jump before he is pushed. This is difficult for him.

READ MORE: The longer Richard Sharp stays put, the more trust in the BBC will be eroded

“He is seeking ways to justify his behaviour. It seems probable but not certain that he will have to go.”

The report – which one source said makes “grim” reading for Sharp – is due to be published next week, according to the FT.

It was compiled by Adam Heppinstall KC after it emerged that Commissioner for Public Appointments William Shawcross, who was originally tasked with writing it, had close links to Downing Street and had previously met Sharp on multiple occasions.

A separate report, compiled by MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee and published in February, found the BBC chair made “significant errors of judgment” by acting as a go-between to help facilitate a loan guarantee for then prime minister Johnson while he was seeking the role with the broadcaster.

READ MORE: Massive 95 per cent of BBC staff want Tory donor Richard Sharp out, poll suggests

Despite calls for him to step down, and polls suggesting massive unease with his position among BBC staff, Sharp has so far hung on.

A Tory donor and Rishi Sunak’s former boss during his time at Goldman Sachs, Sharp was named the UK Government’s “preferred candidate” to take over at the head of the BBC, and in early 2021 was quizzed by Westminster’s Liaison Committee.

The BBC chair did not disclose his involvement in Johnson’s loan situation to the committee before his appointment, leading MPs to conclude in their February report: “Sharp decided to leave our committee without the full facts we required to make an informed judgment on his suitability as a candidate.”

READ MORE: MPs ‘did not have all the facts’ on BBC chairman appointment, ministers told

It went on: “Sharp’s decisions, firstly to become involved in the facilitation of a loan to the then prime minister while at the same time applying for a job that was in that same person’s gift, and then to fail to disclose this material relationship, were significant errors of judgment, which undermine confidence in the public appointments process and could deter qualified individuals from applying for such posts.”

Commenting on the FT reports, SNP media spokesperson at Westminster John Nicolson said he “must go now”.

A former BBC journalist himself, Nicolson said: “Richard Sharp has clung on as BBC chair in desperate and unseemly fashion. It was always clear this further report would be grim.

“He should have resigned with a semblance of dignity after the Commons Culture and Media Committee report. He must now go.”

Sharp is not the only Tory ally to have been handed a top role at the BBC during Johnson’s tenure. Tim Davie, a former Conservative candidate at local elections, was made director-general, and Robbie Gibb – who Emily Maitlis described as an “active agent” of the Tory party – was made BBC board member for England.

The BBC declined to comment.