THE Tory Culture Secretary has denied her Government ripped up and rewrote the job description for the role at the head of Ofcom after Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre failed the first round of interviews.

Nadine Dorries was speaking to Westminster’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in her first appearance since she was elevated to the Secretary role.

Her appearance came in the wake of Dacre pulling out of the race to lead Ofcom, and taking the role at the head of the Daily Mail he had previously vacated.

Dacre (below), a vocal critic of the BBC and reportedly Boris Johnson’s pick to lead the broadcasting regulator, claimed Whitehall civil servants had blocked his appointment. He suggested this was because he is “possessed of an independent mind and … unassociated with the liberal/left”.

The National: Paul Dacre

Quizzed on why the search for a new Ofcom chair has so far been a “disaster”, Dorries told MPs she didn’t think it had been.

“In the department we have over 500 appointments and reappointments and it’s fully to be expected that certain appointments do attract a lot of attention and are not always as straightforward as we would like to be but I don’t think it’s been a disaster,” she said.

Dorries further claimed that the Government did not “alter” the job description to aid Dacre in the application process - allegations for which the Tory government had been threatened with legal action.

The Culture Secretary said: “It was actually not altered as such but it was made to be more diverse and broader so that we could attract a range of broader and more diverse candidates.”

READ MORE: Devolved nations demand say on next Ofcom boss after Paul Dacre withdraws

Dorries said there had been no way to exclude candidates such as Dacre from applying a second time - even though he had been deemed “not appointable”.

The Tory chair of the DCMS committee, Julian Knight MP, previously wrote to the Government to ask that Dacre and others “deemed to be unappointable for a post … be ruled out of re-applying”.

Dorries said: “My predecessor in my post [Oliver Dowden], before I arrived, decided to rerun the competition, quite rightly, for the head of Ofcom, and that process ran.

“There is no way we can exclude anyone from applying whether they were found unsuitable first time round or not.”

Appointment as Culture Secretary

Dorries also used her appearance in front of the committee to suggest misogyny and political allegiances had been the reason for so many to be vocal critics of her appointment as Culture Secretary.

Discussing the response of the arts sector to her appointment, she said: “The arts sector is a pretty huge sector, I don’t think they all opposed my position, but there were certainly a vocal number, mostly, possibly wholly male, who quite used to and quite frequently comment and continue to do so.

“Were they all from the left? Yes, I think there were a number of people who sadly used my appointment as a means of political attack and that did happen.”

Asked by the committee what a “snowflake leftie” is, Dorries joked: “Probably my kids.”

Asked what an “Islington leftie” is, she replied: “Again, one of my kids.”

Dorries denied she uses the terms “quite a lot”, adding: “I think I might have used it once in a general term. I’ve certainly never used it as a Secretary of State, which is what I’m here as today.”

She previously tweeted that “left-wing snowflakes” were “dumbing down panto, removing Christ from Christmas and suppressing free speech”.

The BBC and Public Broadcasting

The Culture Secretary was challenged by SNP MP John Nicolson about comments she made in October when she said she did not know if the BBC would be here in “10 years”.

Dorries claimed she had been talking about the licence fee, before Nicolson read her the quote: “Will the BBC still be here in 10 years? I don’t know.”

She then claimed she was highlighting how one cannot predict the future, but that she is “very sure the BBC will be here in 10 years’ time”.

The Culture Secretary further told the DCMS Committee it is the Government’s “responsibility to check the viability” of public service broadcasters.

She said: “I think what we are doing in terms of looking at the future of Channel 4, we are doing the same thing [as when we scrutinise the BBC]. Is this going to be viable in the long term as a public service broadcaster? And that is all we are doing.

“I know there is all this speculation about ‘the decision has been made’ and ‘they are going to privatise Channel 4’ but we are not. We are evaluating the future of Channel 4 and whether it is a sustainable model.

“A decision has not been taken. When we get to the point of possibly taking a decision, when we get to the point of considering all the evidence, then we can probably have this discussion.

“But at the moment I think it is right and proper we evaluate the future of a public service broadcaster.”