Parliament is enhanced by me becoming Evening Standard editor, says George Osborne

Written by David Singleton on 20 March 2017 in Diary

Watch: The former chancellor spoke out in the Commons as Labour and the SNP piled on the pressure.

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne today called George Osborne’s appointment as editor of the Evening Standard a "matter of great concern".

The SNP's Roger Mullin blasted the move as a "disgraceful shambles".

And even Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer accepted that multiple jobs for MPs was a "matter of concern for the public".

But Osborne stood his ground in a Commons debate sparked by Labour.

The former chancellor said: "When I heard that this Urgent Question had been granted I thought that it was important to be here, although unfortunately we’ve missed the deadline for the Evening Standard.

"In my view, this Parliament is enhanced when we have people of different experience taking part in our robust debate and when people who have held senior ministerial office continue to contribute to the decisions we have to make,” he added.

"But I will listen to what my colleagues have to say in this debate, I’m interested to hear."





Former shadow cabinet minister Clive Lewis will table questions in parliament to each government department, asking them to spell out their advertising spend with the newspaper since 2010, as well as future spending plans.

"It is not just about the obvious political conflicts of interest but the commercial interests involved as well," Lewis said. "I am demanding that the government tell us just how much the Evening Standard earns in advertising revenue from them, and especially from the former chancellor’s old department, the Treasury."

But a number of Tory MPs defended Osborne in the Commons, including Michael Gove.

He said: "Is it not the case that we believe in a free press and that proprietors should have the right to appoint who they like to be editor, without the executive or anyone else interfering with that decision? And isn’t it also the case that who represents a constituency should be up to its voters, not the opposition or anyone else?"

Gove is a former journalist who himself has been tipped as a potential future newspaper editor himself.



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