George Osborne keeps treating Tories mean to keep them keen in 2020
The Tory MP-turned-newspaper editor spoke at the AdWeek Europe conference.
The London Evening Standard was accused of being the “mouthpiece of the Conservative party” during the 2016 London mayoral election when it backed Zac Goldsmith over Sadiq Khan.
But the new editor has suggested that could all change in the next contest.
“If you assume that we are going to back some Conservative mayoral candidate in 2020 just cos they are a Conservative, forget it,” George Osborne said on Monday.
“We will make a judgement on behalf of the people on London about whether Sadiq Khan should get our support for a second term or whether whoever the Conservative candidate is gets that.”
Osborne has previously savaged Theresa May's approach to Brexit and allegedly told colleagues he wants the PM "chopped up in bags" in his freezer. Speaking to Standard columnist Anne McElvoy at the Advertising Week Europe conference in central London, he suggested that the next Tory mayoral candidate could also face the wrath of his paper in 2020.
It comes after a recent editorial in the paper hinted at support for Khan, saying that he had “occupied the centre ground as Mayor of London”. However, the editorial also called on Khan to stand up to far left forces in the Labour party.
Speaking at the AdWeek conference, Osborne continued: “Personally because I’m a Conservative who was in the Conservative cabinet I’m going to probably vote Conservative in that election... I’ll certainly vote Conservative in that election.
"But that is not to say that the Evening Standard will certainly recommend a Conservative vote. And I’m certainly capable in my own mind of distinguishing between my own loyalties or things I feel obliged to do versus what’s in the interests of the paper.”
Sources suggested that Osborne's paper would almost certainly back a Tory mayoral candidate in 2020 if that candidate was the editor's old mate, Tory MP Ed Vaizey…