‘Richard Sharp lost the dressing room at the BBC’ – media react to resignation

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The media industry has reacted to the resignation of Richard Sharp as the chair of the BBC.

The former Tory donor, 67, was found to have broken the rules by failing to disclose he played a role in getting then-prime minister Boris Johnson an £800,000 loan guarantee.

On Friday, Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, said Mr Sharp had “lost the dressing room” at the BBC over the long-running probe into his breach of appointment rules.

She said: “Richard Sharp has shamefully clung to his position as chair for months whilst all around him could clearly see his time was up, so of course it is a relief and proper that he has now finally resigned.

“He had lost the dressing room, he had lost the respect of senior figures in the broadcasting industry and besmirched the reputation of the BBC.

“Now the BBC must move on with a new chair who can help steer the corporation through difficult times and champion public service broadcasting.”

Meanwhile, Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker also commented on the resignation, tweeting: “The BBC chairman should not be selected by the government of the day.

“Not now, not ever.”

His comments come after he was taken off air by the broadcaster in March after posting a tweet which sparked an impartiality row, prompting the BBC to launch an independent review of its social media guidance for freelancers.

He later returned to his Match Of The Day presenting role following a boycott by top on-air talent.

The BBC’s World Affairs editor John Simpson also tweeted: “Following Richard Sharp’s resignation as BBC Chairman, it’s likely there’ll be more support for the proposal that the chairman should be nominated by an independent committee and not by the govt.

“Polls always show that people want governments to keep their hands off the BBC.”

Damian Green, the acting chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said Mr Sharp’s successor must have “the integrity and impartiality needed for this role”.

Mr Green added that “we hope that lessons have been learnt” so that future appointments are not “clouded in the same way” and so that “people can have faith in those chosen for public positions”.

Meanwhile, shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell said Mr Sharp’s breach had caused “untold damage to the reputation of the BBC”.

She said: “It’s right that he resigned,” later adding: “They should’ve sacked him weeks ago.”

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