BORIS Johnson’s government has been condemned for aiming to appoint former Daily Mail boss Paul Dacre at the head of Ofcom - despite him having failed the first interview round.

Although he was reportedly “wooed” by Johnson over drinks last year, Dacre was deemed “not appointable” by an assessment panel in May. That led the Tories to “rip up the rules” and start the interview process again.

Concerns have been raised that the new three-person interview panel has been “packed” with Tory cronies, while the job description was rewritten “to favour Mr Dacre’s candidacy”.

The SNP’s shadow media secretary, John Nicolson MP (below), said UK ministers were “determined to parachute their preferred candidate” into the Ofcom role.

The National: John Nicolson speaking in the House of Commons

He said: “Ofcom plays a huge and important role as a media regular. The new Online Safety Bill will give it significant powers however it needs to have teeth, it needs to be independent, and it needs to be seen to be independent.

“Ministers seem determined, however, to parachute their preferred candidate Paul Dacre into a job few think he’s qualified for. He failed in his first interview, and now Downing Street is changing the job description and packing the interview panel.

READ MORE: Handing top Ofcom job to Boris Johnson's favourite 'may be unlawful', Tories told

“This UK Government has become synonymous with sleaze and back room deals. Voters are tired of it. They want public officials chosen for their competence and professionalism – not their connections to Downing Street.

"Voters want transparency, not chumocracy.”

While a previous panel found Dacre “not appointable” and the Tory chair of the culture select committee wrote to the Government to ask that he “be ruled out of re-applying”, he has been allowed to face a new interview panel.

The National: Nick Gibb

Of the three people on this panel, one is former Tory adviser, Michael Simmonds. He is married to Conservative former minister Nick Gibb (above), the brother of BBC board member and former Downing Street communications boss Robbie Gibb.

Another is lobbyist Michael Prescott - a senior executive at Hanover Communications, a company the SNP say has close connections to the Conservative Party.

Good Law Project lawyers have written to the UK Government threatening legal action if it is unable to adequately explain why the competition for Ofcom chair is being rerun and why Dacre is being allowed to reapply.

The project’s director, Jo Maugham, said there was a “wider pattern” in the Tory government’s behaviour.

Maugham said: “From ignoring the first interview panel, to re-writing the job description, to reportedly giving Dacre tips on how to pass the interview, this Government seems determined to re-run the appointment process until they get what they want: Paul Dacre installed in the top job at Ofcom.

“There’s a wider pattern here. When Boris Johnson doesn’t like the outcome of an official process, he tries to rip up the rules and start again. We saw it with the Owen Paterson scandal and we’re seeing it again now with this rigged appointment process.

“We want proper answers from the Government. If we don’t get them, we expect to take legal action.”

A UK Government spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 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."