Culture secretary

New Culture Secretary attacks left-wing critics who opposed her appointment

Nadine Dorries attacked left-wing critics who opposed his appointment as Culture Secretary, saying they had used him as “a means of political attack”.

The politician, who is also a bestselling author, said there were a “vocal number” of predominantly male figures who were hostile to being given the role.

Ms Dorries replaced Oliver Dowden as Culture Secretary in the September reshuffle, inheriting big plans such as the government consultation on the privatization of Channel 4, the Culture Recovery Fund and the resuscitation of the post-Covid industry , as well as the ongoing debate over the future of the BBC.

Making her first appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee since she was appointed to this post, she said: “The arts sector is a big enough sector, I don’t think they are all involved. opposed to my position, but there was certainly a voice number, mostly, maybe all-male, that used to comment and continues to do so quite frequently.


Nadine Dorries testifying before MPs at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee in Parliament (House of Commons / PA)


Nadine Dorries testifying before MPs at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee in Parliament (House of Commons / PA)

“Were they all on the left? Yes, I think there were a number of people who unfortunately used my appointment as a means of political attack and it did.

“Were these people clearly on the left? Yes.”

Asked by the committee what a “left snowflake” is, Ms. Dorries joked, “Probably my children.”

When asked what an “Islington Left” is, she replied, “Again, one of my kids.”

Ms Dorries denied using the term ‘a lot’, adding: ‘I think I may have used it once in a general term. I certainly never used it as Secretary of State, and that’s what I’m here today.

She was also asked about the selection process to appoint a new chairman of media watchdog Ofcom.

Ms Dorries told the committee the government had not “changed” the job description to help former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre with the application process.

She said: “It was not actually changed as such, but it was designed to be more diverse and broad so that we can attract a wider and more diverse range of applicants.”

The government had previously decided to relaunch the process after an initial round of talks failed to find a new president.

Ms Dorries said there was no way to exclude candidates such as Mr Dacre from applying for a second time.


Paul Dacre (Iain Crockart / DMGT / PA)

Paul Dacre (Iain Crockart / DMGT / PA)


Paul Dacre (Iain Crockart / DMGT / PA)

She said: “My predecessor in my post, prior to my arrival, decided to relaunch the competition, and rightly so, for the head of Ofcom, and that process went smoothly.

“There is no way to exclude anyone from applying, whether they were deemed inappropriate on the first try or not.”

Culture Department Permanent Secretary Sarah Healey, who appeared alongside Ms Dorries at the session, was criticized by Mr Dacre in a letter to the Times announcing her withdrawal from the race.

He referred to “senior officials working from home so they can spend more time exercising on their Peloton bikes and polishing their political correctness, knowing that it is they, not elected politicians, who are really in charge. this country”.

Ms Dorries expressed her support for Ms Healey saying: “There are a lot of male permanent secretaries who have gone to work every morning, or for their bike ride, or walked their dog. No one had anything to say about it.

Addressing the future of Channel 4, Ms Dorries said it was the government’s “responsibility to verify the viability” of public service broadcasters.

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

“No decision has been made. When we get to the point of eventually making a decision, when we get to the point of looking at all the evidence, then we can probably have that discussion.

“But for now, I think it’s fair and appropriate that we assess the future of a public service broadcaster.”

Elsewhere, she has been questioned about tweets passed to journalists, including LBC presenter James O’Brien, which the committee described as “offensive.”

Ms Dorries responded by suggesting that female politicians criticized on Twitter should be able to respond “confidently”.