Oliver Dowden, Conservative party co-chair and former culture secretary, has denied the appointment process for the new chairman of Ofcom is rigged, referring to the push for ex-Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.
Whilst speaking on the Today programme to Nick Robinson, Dowden was quizzed on why the government took the unusual move to reopen the process and re-writing the job description to allow Dacre to reapply. Robinson questioned this decision and the government standards surrounding it.
In response, Dowden said: “You’re actually proving the point that it is a proper, independent process. Because had it not been a proper, independent process, if it was the case that Paul Dacre was our preferred candidate, he would currently be chair of Ofcom.”
He went on to say that because the role is specialist and has very few people who are eligible, it was “appropriate” to open the application process again.
The exchange comes just a week after a letter was issued to the Government threatening legal proceedings if ex-Daily Mail boss is hired as the new chair.
At the time, a Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport spokesperson said: “We will not not be drawn into speculation on an ongoing appointments process. This process is being run in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments and we will not prejudge the outcome.”