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Fresh questions for Boris over financial advice

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Another week and another Sunday Times story about Boris Johnson’s finances. The paper has got hold of a leaked Cabinet Office memo which it says shows that Johnson was told to stop asking Richard Sharp for ‘advice’ about his ‘personal financial matters’ days before the latter was announced as the next BBC chairman. The memo, written by Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, was drawn up after Johnson and Sharp sought advice in early December on accepting a loan of up to £800,000 guaranteed by the PM’s distant cousin Sam Blyth. According to the Sunday Times, the advice issued by Case stated that:

given the imminent announcement of Richard Sharp as the new BBC chair, it is important that you no longer ask his advice about your personal financial matters.

Sharp is accused of having failed to disclose this information when he was nominated for the role, despite government rules about disclosing conflicts of interest. He has sought to downplay any intimate involvement in Johnson’s affairs, saying ‘there is not a conflict when I simply connected, at his request, Mr Blyth with the Cabinet Secretary and had no further involvement whatsoever.’ Johnson too has ridiculed any suggestion that Sharp gave him advice, telling Sky News on Monday that:

Richard Sharp knows absolutely nothing about my personal finances, I can tell you that for ding dang sure.

If Sharp really didn’t offer advice to Boris then why did Case suggest he did in his memo? One for the Culture Select Committee perhaps…

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Steerpike
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Steerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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