George Osborne's new role 'may lead to change in second job rules'

Mar 20, 2017, 00:40

However, the appointment was welcomed by Mr Blair, who said: "I think it is a great thing for the Evening Standard".

A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said the appointment made a "mockery" of media independence and "insulted" Mr Osborne's constituents.

He has previously faced controversy for accepting a post as an adviser to the USA asset management fund BlackRock for £162,500 a quarter for 12 days working as an "adviser on the global economy", while racking up more than £780,000 in speaking fees since leaving office.

Even before he got his BlackRock role, the independently wealthy Osborne was already the UK's highest-earning MP with over £600,000 from speaking engagements on top of his £74,962 parliamentary salary.

Evgeny Lebedev, proprietor of the newspaper, said: "In George, we have appointed someone of huge political achievement, and economic and cultural authority".

George Osborne failed to get in to a journalism trainee scheme but is now editor of The Evening Standard.

"I am proud to be a Conservative MP, but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners". "If it is, we'll support them; if it isn't we'll be quick to say so".

Those words are likely to send a chill down the spine of Theresa May and her Downing Street team who, I am told, were kept in the dark until the BBC's dramatic news break.

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The City Spy column criticised Osborne's reaction to the resignation of Charlotte Hogg, who stood down from her position as the Bank of England's deputy governor after failing to disclose her family's links with Barclays' Bank. "We are going to make our voices heard, whether it's me writing articles, or George being editor".

The Tory MP, who was sacked by Theresa May previous year, will take up the reins of the London Evening Standard in May. "I've run the country, but I've never run a newspaper".

The newspaper released a statement which confirmed the appointment.

And it has sparked calls for an inquiry into whether he broke rules for former ministers by failing to clear the appointment with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, which vets new jobs taken by senior public figures.

Lord Bew told the paper the editor role did not fit the current policy on second jobs, but stressed that the issue was "not personal" to Mr Osborne.

But there is nothing now to stop Mr Osborne being both an MP and a newspaper editor.

From former BBC journalist and predecessor MP for Osborne's Tatton constituency Martin Bell came: "It sounds like fake news to me".

This would enable the Tory MP "to edit the paper and continue to fulfil his other commitments, including as an MP; giving him the time to vote and contribute in parliament in the afternoon after the paper has gone to print, and be in his constituency", the Standard stated. "Are you sure it isn't?"