(Bloomberg) -- The U.K. has quietly reopened applications to run its influential internet and media regulator for a second time, after struggling to find a suitable candidate.

Applications were originally due on 13 Dec., but the deadline has been extended to Feb. 2, according to the government’s website. 

Ministers reopened the race after they decided to widen the field of potential candidates, according to people with direct knowledge of the process, who asked not to be named because the process is private. 

It’s now more than a year since Ofcom had a permanent chair. The watchdog’s role is due to be expanded to encompass new wide-ranging online speech laws. 

Since its relaunch in November, the process has been overseen by Sue Gray, the same civil servant conducting a high-profile probe into allegations of rule-breaking parties by lawmakers during lockdowns. A spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is responsible for the process, declined to comment. 

The first search only yielded nine applications after press reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s preferred candidate was former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. 

Dacre said Johnson personally asked him if he’d like the job, in an article for the Spectator magazine. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.