Monday, 29 May, 2017

Osborne applied for Standard job… after friends asked for help with applications

Thrilled – Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said he was confident Mr Osborne is the right person for the job More Thrilled – Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said he was confident Mr Osborne is the right person for the job More
Sammy Stanley | 20 March, 2017, 00:40

"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", he wrote.

In his letter, he said Osborne was required to refer any new job he meant to take within two years of leaving office to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba) before accepting it.

"I wouldn't be letting someone else do it and I just don't think it works".

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.

Reacting to the news, former Labour leader Ed Miliband joked he would shortly be announced as the editor of Heat magazine and Liberal Democrat chief Tim Farron suggested he should apply to edit Viz.

It said: "The Standard's schedule will enable Mr Osborne 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".

"No, we are going to make our voices heard, whether it's me writing articles, whether it's George being editor of the Evening Standard. Are you sure it isn't?"

Mr Osborne's editorship is one of several roles he has taken up after being forced out of frontbench politics.

He has previously faced controversy for accepting a post as an adviser to the U.S. 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.

He described joining the newspaper as a "great honour".

Despite this, the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson voiced doubts over his appointment at the London Evening Standard and his ability to do the job.

"We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. If it is, we'll support them; if it isn't we'll be quick to say so", Osborne said.

On Saturday the proprietor of the Evening Standard and The Independent, Evgeny Lebedev, defended Mr Osborne's appointment in the face of intense criticism.

"Once he put himself forward for the position, he was the obvious choice. (His) political viewpoint - liberal on social issues and pragmatic on economic ones - closely matches those of many of our readers".

Osborne has previously been rebuked by Acoba for announcing his Northern Powerhouse initiative before seeking the committee's advice, and is likely to be similarly criticised by the watchdog for publicly announcing his newspaper job having only informed the committee earlier this week.

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