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7 February 2023

“Lord Dacre”? Does Richard Sharp know something we don’t?

The BBC’s under-fire chairman may have inadvertently suggested a peerage for the Daily Mail editor is back on the cards.

By The Chatterer

Paul Dacre, the former long-standing editor of the Daily Mail, was widely tipped last year to be awarded a place in the House of Lords.

The Telegraph reported in early October that Dacre was among a number of “Brexit-backing Conservatives who supported Boris Johnson” that would be given peerages that month. Dacre’s name was then apparently removed from the list, possibly because of a well-publicised celebrity High Court claim that was made against the Mail group.

Still, speculation remains rife that Dacre could be honoured in Johnson’s resignation honours list. The “will he, won’t he” has become a topic of much debate on Fleet Street in recent months. Today Richard Sharp, the under-fire chairman of the BBC, may have inadvertently provided a hint that Dacre’s peerage is a done deal.

Sharp, whose relationship with Johnson (and a claim that he helped facilitate a loan to the former PM) is under the spotlight, was being quizzed by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about his appointment as BBC chairman. In passing, he told the committee: “I was subject to a very rigorous interview process. I needed to be considered appointable, if you like, and recommendable. As you know, from Lord Dacre’s experience, any preferences don’t necessarily guarantee that independent committees form that view.”

Dacre’s bid to become chairman of Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, fell through despite the fact he was apparently Johnson’s pick for the job. But… “Lord Dacre”? Presumably Sharp misspoke. If not, the Chatterer wonders whether he may know something the rest of us do not.

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[See also: Honours are becoming as discredited as Twitter blue ticks]

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