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New Ofcom chair Lord Michael Grade to appear before DCMS select committee

New Ofcom chair Lord Michael Grade to appear before DCMS select committee (Peter Byrne/PA)
New Ofcom chair Lord Michael Grade to appear before DCMS select committee (Peter Byrne/PA)

Newly announced Ofcom chair Lord Michael Grade is due to appear in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee for a “pre-appointment scrutiny”.

Lord Grade will receive a grilling from MPs which may include questions on the drawn-out selection process, online safety and sanctions on Russian media.

The Conservative peer, 79, who has held senior positions at all three of the UK’s major media outlets, was named as the Government’s preferred candidate for the role by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries last week.

ITV could outsource regional news
Lord Grade will receive a grilling from MPs which may include questions on the drawn-out selection process, online safety and sanctions on Russian media (Fiona Hanson/PA)

He is due to appear in front of the cross-party select committee at 10am on Thursday.

Such hearings are conducted to allow select committees to scrutinise the quality of ministerial appointments and assess the candidate’s suitability for the role, knowledge and experience.

During his career, Lord Grade has served as controller of BBC One, chief executive of Channel 4, chairman of the BBC and executive chairman of ITV plc.

The committee will publish a short report on the proposed appointment for the head of the media watchdog in the days following the session.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Lord Grade, 79, who has held senior positions at all three of the UK’s major media outlets has been named as the new chair of media regulator Ofcom (Yui Mok/PA)

Lord Grade currently sits as a Conservative peer in the House of Lords after being appointed by David Cameron in 2011.

If confirmed as Ofcom chair he will move to the cross-benches and give up any non-executive roles that could cause a conflict of interest.

Following the Government’s announcement, Lord Grade said: “Ofcom is respected across the globe as a first rate communications regulator so I am privileged to be asked to become its chair.

“The role of Ofcom in British life has never been more important with new responsibilities on the horizon regulating online safety, on top of the ever changing broadcasting landscape.

Cabinet Meeting
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, named Lord Grade as the Government’s preferred candidate last week (James Manning/PA)

“I look forward to my appearance in front of the DCMS Select Committee to outline what I can bring to this role and how I can help ensure Ofcom is fit for the future.”

The former media executive was named for the position after a lengthy recruitment process which was branded as “chaotic and frankly embarrassing” by Labour.

Former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was reportedly Boris Johnson’s preferred choice during the initial interviews but he withdrew from the race, claiming the civil service had influenced the process because of his right-of-centre “convictions”.