Paul Dacre pulls out of running to become Ofcom chairman

Paul Dacre pulls out of Ofcom chair race and takes on ‘exciting new job in the private sector’

Paul Dacre

Paul Dacre has pulled out of the running to become Ofcom’s next chairman and revealed he is taking on an “exciting new job in the private sector”.

The former Daily Mail editor, 73, was said to be the government’s preferred candidate to oversee the UK’s broadcast regulator.

After Dacre’s initial application for the job was rejected by an interview panel, Boris Johnson’s government advertised for the role again, allegedly to give him a second shot.

In a letter to Saturday’s edition of the Times newspaper, Dacre revealed he had chosen not to re-apply, and hit out at civil servants managing the process.

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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.”

Dacre questioned whether Ofcom’s current leadership would have the “wherewithal” to manage planned new regulations on technology firms without damaging freedom of expression.

“I wish Ofcom all the luck in the world as it faces the awesome challenge of trying to regulate the omnipotent, ruthless and, as we’ve learnt, amoral tech giants without damaging freedom of expression – a freedom I spent 28 years as an editor fighting for both publicly and privately with ministers.”

He said he would “die in a ditch to defend” the BBC, but added that the corporation needs to be “saved from both itself and the frighteningly well-resourced streaming giants”.

And Dacre, who left Mail publisher Associated Newspapers earlier this month (he was made editor-in-chief and chairman of Associated after he left the editor’s chair in 2018), also revealed he has found a new job.

“I’m taking up an exciting new job in the private sector that, in a climate that is increasingly hostile to business, struggles to create the wealth to pay for all those senior civil servants working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness, safe in the knowledge that it is they, not elected politicians, who really run this country.”

Picture credit: Murray Sanders/Associated Newspapers

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Author: William Turvill

William is Press Gazette's North America Editor.