The loan arranger has ridden off into the sunset. Richard Sharp, who has resigned as BBC chairman, managed to cling on to his clearly untenable position for four months after his role as a fixer of Boris Johnson’s finances was revealed. You have to say he’ll be disappointed with only managing to brazen it out for that long.
After all, bullying winker Dominic Raab was able to lurch on for five months as the zombie at Rishi Sunak’s right hand before his own exit in disgrace. And the daddy of them all – well, at least seven of them, anyway – managed to barricade himself in Downing Street for a full six months after the first Partygate revelations, even staying on for another three after resigning.
Set against those examples, a mere four months hanging on to a job you shouldn’t have been given in the first place and that everyone else knew you’d soon be forced to leave must feel like a bit of a cheat.
Sharp’s Waterloo is another part of the unflushable legacy of Boris Johnson. Sharp was an old friend, who happened to have donated over £400,000 to the Conservatives and was a former banking colleague of Rishi Sunak. Johnson hand-picked him, and made sure he was approved by a final interview panel that included another Tory donor, Catherine Baxendale, and the wife of Johnson’s former employer at The Spectator, Blondel Cluff.
In this atmosphere of cronyism, it can surely be no surprise that Sharp believed that he did not need to declare his favours to Johnson to the panel. Just as it was no surprise that, once in post, a man ostensibly hired as a financial brain quickly followed Johnson’s agenda by wading in on the BBC’s supposed political bias.
Now, having helped Johnson out of an £800,000 hole, he is out of a job. Meanwhile, Johnson has made £5 million in speaking fees and book deals since leaving Downing Street. Sharp joins a long list of Johnson’s collateral damage.
Boris Johnson has sullied and diminished everything he has touched. The stains the former prime minister has left will take years of scrubbing to remove.