A GROUP of ministers from the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments have written to the Tory Culture Secretary to express their "extreme concern" about the process to appoint a new Ofcom chair.

The four-strong group of ministers has written to Nadine Dorries highlighting a “perceived lack of impartiality and transparency” in the hiring process after it was scrapped and rerun to favour former Daily Mail boss Paul Dacre.

The Tory government's decision to rewrite the job description in order to better suit Dacre led to threats of legal action against them.

In a humiliating defeat for Boris Johnson, who had reportedly "wooed" Dacre for the Ofcom role, the former Daily Mail boss announced his withdrawal from the interview process in a letter to The Times on Friday.

The devolved ministers have now asked to be included in the Ofcom selection process to help find a candidate who "can work impartially and independently in the interests of all the nations”.

The letter has been signed by the Scottish Government’s Culture Secretary Angus Robertson and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes (below), and the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Arts Dawn Bowden and Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.

The National:

The four ministers express concerns about “the ongoing and prolonged process” and how this might “adversely affect the standing of the public service broadcasting system whose duty is to serve all the nations”.

The group claim they wrote to the Culture Secretary’s predecessor, Oliver Dowden, but did not receive a reply.

“We are extremely concerned about the perceived lack of impartiality and transparency of the current appointment processes at Ofcom,” they write.

“Appointment processes that are tarnished, or perceived to be so, might impact on the authority of Ofcom to regulate public service broadcasting for the benefit of all the nations.”

They add that “involving the devolved governments would return credibility to an appointment process that has been tarnished by delays and questions about the real independence of those involved”.

The group go on to say: “We urge you to involve us fully in the process as is right to protect a system which is so important to the public in Scotland and Wales and all the UK.”

A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The recruitment process is fair and open and in line with the Governance Code for Public Appointments, which clearly sets out that assessment panels must be objective when deciding which candidates meet the criteria for a role.

“The process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, who is responsible for ensuring that the appointment is made in accordance with strict guidelines.”