Ex-Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre quits race for Ofcom chair

·2-min read

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has withdrawn from the running to become the next chairman of media watchdog Ofcom.

In a letter to The Times, the 73-year-old said he had decided not to re-apply for the role despite the Government’s decision to rerun the appointment process.

Mr Dacre said he would instead be taking up an “exciting new job in the private sector” despite “many senior members of the Government” urging him to try again.

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(Yui Mok/PA)

He described his experience as an “infelicitous dalliance with the Blob” and claimed the civil service had influenced the process because of his right-of-centre “convictions”.

He wrote: “To anyone from the private sector, who, God forbid, has convictions, and is thinking of applying for a public appointment, I say the following: The civil service will control (and leak) everything; the process could take a year in which your life will be put on hold; and if you are possessed of an independent mind and are unassociated with the liberal/left, you will have more chance of winning the lottery than getting the job.”

The selection process is being rerun after an initial round of interviews failed to find a new chair.

Mr Dacre, who parted ways with the Daily Mail group this week after 42 years, including 26 as editor of the Daily Mail, was reportedly Boris Johnson’s preferred choice during the initial rounds.

In the letter, Mr Dacre also warned the eventual appointee would face an “awesome challenge” trying to regulate “the omnipotent, ruthless and, as we’ve learnt, amoral tech giants”.

He took aim at Ofcom’s current chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes, adding: “Whether Ofcom, whose chief executive is a brilliant career civil servant, latterly at the Ministry of Housing, has the wherewithal to deal with such issues, is a different kettle of fish.”

Elsewhere, Mr Dacre suggested the true reason his appointment was allegedly blocked during the initial appointment process was because senior Whitehall officials, rather than politicians, are the ones “who really run this country”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has been contacted for comment.

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