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Oliver Dowden wants search for new Ofcom chair to begin again

Culture secretary wants the search to "start afresh"

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden has reportedly written to the public appointments commissioner saying he wants the process of finding a new chair for regulator Ofcom to “start afresh”.

According to the Telegraph, Dowden has decided that the process has been “deficient” in some areas and “civil servants have told him that there are grounds to rerun it”.

The report says concerns have been raised following “very heavy lobbying” against former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, particularly from major technology companies including Facebook.

Dacre is said to have been the choice of prime minister Boris Johnson for the role. According to the Telegraph, fewer than 10 candidates applied for the role of Ofcom chair because Dacre appeared to be the overwhelming favourite.

All four candidates believed to be on the shortlist will be able to reapply. They also include former rail regulator Sir Tom Winsor, former culture minister Lord Ed Vaizey and Maggie Carver, the deputy chair of Ofcom.