George Osborne's Evening Standard job triggers review into MPs' second jobs

Matthew Lloyd  Getty Images
Matthew Lloyd Getty Images

20 March, 2017

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: "George Osborne's appointment as editor of the Evening Standard is yet another example of the Establishment revolving door, a closely-knit clique who are holding back the British people".

The MP for Tatton now has a total of six highly paid jobs including his constituency work, as editor of the Evening Standard, chair of the Northern Powerhouse partnership, an adviser to BlackRock, academic work as a Kissinger fellow in the USA, and an after-dinner speaking contract.

'You can not be serious!' No, not the old John McEnroe quote, but the reaction of most of the journalistic profession and the editorial staff of the London Evening Standard, the paper George Osborne has been sensationally appointed to edit.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life, the watchdog which holds those in public life to account, will officially review the appointment in light of the former chancellor remaining an MP for Tatton, the Sunday Times reports.

"We have not ruled out MPs having second jobs, quite deliberately, up until now, but we now have to look again at our rules".

But Mr Osborne's elevation to the job, set to be vacated by current editor Sarah Sands in May, was welcomed by former prime minister Mr Blair.

However, he said his case raised the "issue of how much time MPs have to devote to their parliamentary work".

Tommy Sheppard, an SNP MP on the committee, told The Telegraph he would push for two new rule changes to the code of conduct next month.

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He said: 'You can not edit the Evening Standard and represent your constituents in any meaningful sense. "Why not? He's a highly capable guy and it should make politics more interesting".

But the creator of the petition, now signed by more than 140,000 people, disagrees, and wrote "no other full-time job would let you just work afternoons" and that as MP for Tatton in Cheshire, "helping someone in need or providing vital support to struggling families... should always be George Osborne's number one priority".

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.

"I spent 10 years as a journalist and I've spent six years as a politician and I'm not sure I could combine the both".

Philip Davies, a Conservative MP, said: "I am sure there are many newspaper editors who will be interested to know that their job is not a full-time job".

Some members of the opposition Labour Party want him to stand down, with Stephen Kinnock saying on ITV's "Peston on Sunday" show that he choked on his corn flakes when he heard the announcement on Friday and thought it was fake news.

Among Evening Standard journalists there was a degree of scepticism over Lebedev's statement implying that Osborne had applied for the job, rather than it being the "strange and cosy" deal between dinner party pals that most of the staff suspect.

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