United Kingdom ex-Chancellor Osborne appointed newspaper editor

George Osborne was unveiled as the new editor of Britain's London Evening Standard yesterday (Friday) in a surprise announcement that led to accusations that he is plotting to undermine Theresa May's plans for a clean Brexit.

"I am proud to have an editor of such substance", said the Standard's owner, Evgeny Lebedev, adding that Osborne's socially liberal and economically pragmatic political views matched those of the paper's readers in London.

In his letter, he said under the code, Mr Osborne was required to refer any new job that he meant to take within two years of leaving office to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) before accepting it. If it is, we'll support them.

'Conflicts of interest in his opinion on Charlotte, perhaps?'

"The rules on business appointments are established to counter suspicion that the decisions and statements of a serving minister might be influenced by the hope or expectation of future employment with a particular firm or organisation; and that an employer could make improper use of official information to which a former minister has had access to", he wrote.

Tom Watson, the Shadow Culture Secretary, said, that with the incompatible demands of editing a newspaper and being an MP: "I assume the former Chancellor will give up his seat in Parliament in due course and trigger a by-election".

It raises the likelihood that ardent pro-remainer Osborne will have a ready made platform via the paper's profile and 900,000 strong readership to argue the case against Brexit.

Breaking: I will shortly be announced as editor of Heat magazine.... "It smacks of a celebrity/PR appointment in which he'll be a frontman figure while the real professionals get on with the job of actually producing a newspaper".

"It's taking multitasking to an extreme level - what a joke", said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"He's an MP for Cheshire who's been living in 11 Downing Street for the last seven years. Of course this paper is edited primarily in the morning, Parliament votes in the afternoon, crucially, though people need to know this".

But critics, including former cabinet colleague Alistair Carmichael, say he is "taking the p**s" out of and "should stand down as an MP immediately".

The incredulous Twitter tsunami of reactions to the Osborne editorship appointment included much mirth and some classic quips. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise. "Are you sure it isn't?" "He can not stay on as an MP, it's absolutely disgraceful". I doubt there is a single MP in any party who thinks it is acceptable.

He said: 'This is such an exciting and challenging job and I'm thrilled to take it on. "Mr Osbone hasn't even been a journalist... my threshold for being shocked just rose a little more".

Paul Connew is a media commentator, broadcaster, former editor of the Sunday Mirror, deputy editor of the Daily Mirror and a columnist for The New European.

  • Elsie Buchanan