Osborne Quits as MP “For Now”

 “I am stepping down from the House of Commons – for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

“I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor’s chair of a great newspaper. It’s still too early to be writing my memoirs.”

“At the age of 45, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-Chancellor. I want new challenges.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard. I’ve met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious.”

[My editorship will offer] straight facts and informed opinion to help them to make the big decisions Britain now faces about the kind of country we want to be. That starts with the coverage of this general election.”

Scoop in the Standard, naturally.

Friday Caption Contest (Taxi for Osborne Edition)

Evening Standard Editor George Osborne Could Have Been Locked in Parliament

Yesterday raised another question over George Osborne’s appointment as editor of London’s flagship Evening Standard: had the attack occurred in two months’ time, Osborne would have likely been stuck inside a locked-down parliament along with other MPs. Out of the newsroom…

The first edition of London’s Evening Standard hit the streets before the attack, nevertheless the paper says it rushed out a late change to its last editions giving the tragedy comprehensive coverage read by commuters on their way home in print and on their phones. This was all put together in the afternoon, when Osborne plans to be on the parliamentary estate. He would not have been able to judge the tone, choose the front page splash headline or picture. He would not have been able to effectively edit the paper. A source in the Standard newsroom tells Guido that Osborne was not seen on deck yesterday and hasn’t been spotted in the office since the day he was appointed – although he is not due to start until May. Yesterday Osborne would have been perfectly positioned as a reporter, but not an editor…

Osborne Trolls Commons: “We’ve Missed Standard Deadline”

He says he will “listen to the views of colleagues” about whether he should stay as an MP. Get the feeling he’s loving this…

Sack Clegg, Hire Cameron

Modest advice to George Osborne from Piers Morgan on editing…

“Great columnists can make or break a paper, so hire some great ones. That means instantly firing dreary Nick Clegg, whose Standard columns are as inspiring as his broken tuition fee pledges, and hiring someone like me. Unfortunately, you can’t afford me. So go cheaper – Clarkson, Coren, or even your old mate Cameron. He’s got nothing better to do.”

Labour Report Osborne to Cabinet Office

Labour have written to the Cabinet Office complaining about George Osborne’s job at the Standard. Guido has the letter:

John Manzoni
Cabinet office
70 Whitehall
London SW1A 2AS

cc: Sue Gray, Rt. Hon. George Osborne

Sir,

I write to formally raise my concern about a potential breach of the Ministerial Code by the Rt. Hon. Member for Tatton, George Osborne.

Mr Osborne served this country as Chancellor of the Exchequer until July 2016, just over eight months ago. Since leaving this post, the Member for Tatton has drawn considerable controversy over his private appointments and notably his failure to fully declare details of these appointments to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

In October last year, after learning of one of Mr. Osborne’s appointments in the press, the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments wrote to Mr. Osborne stating that: “The Committee would also remind you that advice should be sought on all appointments, paid or unpaid, before they are taken up or announced” and that the “the committee is unable to offer retrospective advice on appointments that have already been announced.”

Today many were again concerned to find that Mr. Osborne had repeated this procedure, announcing his new role at the London Evening Standard prior to consulting the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

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.

Disregarding these rules deeply undermines public trust in the democratic processes and does a disservice to those Members that ensure they follow the rules laid out on these matters.

Furthermore, the rules around this process are outlined in Section 7.25 of the Ministerial Code, which states that:
“On leaving office, Ministers will be prohibited from lobbying Government for two years. They must also seek advice from the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACoBA) about any appointments or employment they wish to take up within two years of leaving office. To ensure that Ministers are fully aware of their future obligations in respect of outside appointments after leaving office, the Business Appointment Rules are attached at Annex B. Former Ministers must abide by the advice of the Committee which will be published by the Committee when a role is announced or taken up.”

In light of the Member for Tatton’s conduct, I request that the incident be investigated to determine as soon as possible if a breach of the Ministerial Code has taken place. The Ministerial Code sets out that in the position of Permanent Secretary, you advise Ministers on potential conflicts of interest, and agree action with them regarding the handling of them.

I therefore ask you to urgently clarify:

Whether the Member for Tatton’s conduct constituted a breach of the Ministerial Code;

Whether you were made aware of the Member for Tatton’s appointment at the Evening Standard prior to it being announced in the press;

Whether you aware that the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments had not been consulted;

And, if a breach of the Ministerial Code has taken place, whether you have consulted the Prime Minister about further steps to be taken.

Given the public interest, I am placing a copy of this letter in the public domain.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Gwynne MP
Shadow Minister without Portfolio

The PM will be consulted on whether it’s a breach…

“Mr Osborne, Are You Going to Resign?”

Friday Caption Contest: First Day Edition

Entries in the comments. Make them witty…

8 Huge Osborne Conflicts of Interest

New Evening Standard editor and sitting Tory MP George Osborne will now have to navigate a minefield of conflicted interests. Guido counts eight off the top of his head…

  • MP for Tatton: The Commons sits on four of the weekday mornings that Osborne will be in the Standard newsroom. He can’t be in two places at once. How can he properly represent his constituents? 
  • Northern Powerhouse: Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse, while fighting for London at the Standard. Those two interests will surely collide at times…
  • Standard’s City pages: Osborne is being paid £650,000 by investment firm BlackRock. He will have a fiduciary duty to the firm. How can the Standard’s City pages now credibly cover BlackRock and its competitors?
  • Press regulation: The editor one of the country’s highest circulating newspapers will now have a parliamentary vote on any further issues relating to press regulation. Osborne voted for the full implementation of the Leveson Inquiry. The whole point of Leveson was to stop politicians and newspaper editors becoming too close…
  • 1922 Committee: Osborne remains a member of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, whose meetings are held in private. Not with a newspaper editor in the room…
  • Privy Council: Osborne remains a member of the Privy Council, whose members swear an oath to “keep secret all matters treated of in council”. Journalists usually try to discover secrets for their readers.
  • Advertising: The commercial side will be hugely important for Osborne at the Standard. Editors have to keep advertisers sweet. Big business has him over a barrel…
  • Owner’s influences: Evgeny Lebedev’s dad was a KGB Putin crony. Evgeny is pro-Putin’s actions in Syria, Osborne could not be a bigger critic of Russia and Assad. And he is now in the pay of Russians…

And when will he find time for the wife and kids?

UPDATE: Transparency International call for the appointment to be blocked:

“It is inconceivable that ACOBA, the advisory body for political business appointments, could approve this move, and therefore extraordinary that it should have been proposed. If ACOBA approve this they will be signing their own death-warrant , confirming they are not fit for purpose and unable to guard against conflicts of interest and consequences of the revolving door – two of the most prevalent corruption risks in UK politics.”

Standard Newsroom Reacts


Fair to say journalists in the Evening Standard newsroom have had their minds blown at the news that George Osborne is their new editor:

The deputy editor of the Standard diary speaks for his colleagues:

Osborne due to address his staff at 12:15 pm, one of his tougher speeches…

George Osborne New Evening Standard Editor

The BBC’s Amol Rajan reports George Osborne is the new editor of the Evening Standard. He will edit the paper in the morning and do his MP’s duties in the afternoon. Wow!

Evgeny Lebedev says:

“I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces The Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – socially liberal and economically pragmatic – closely matches that of many of our readers. George is London through and through and I am confident he is the right person to build on the fantastic legacy of Sarah Sands.”

Osborne statement:

“I am proud to be a Conservative MP, but as editor and leader of a team of dedicated and independent journalists, our only interest will be to give a voice to all Londoners. We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London’s politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we’ll support them. If it isn’t, we’ll be quick to say so.

So much is now at stake about the future of our country and its capital city. I will remain in Parliament, where that future is debated. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise. I remain passionate about the Northern Powerhouse and will continue to promote that cause. Right from the first speech I gave about the North of England, I’ve said that London needs a successful north and the north benefits from its links to a global city like London. It’s not a zero-sum game, but quite the opposite.”

Osborne says he will continue to promote the Northern Powerhouse and represent Tatton while editing a newspaper and advising BlackRock…

Osborne Earning £650,000 For Four Days’ Work a Month

Yesterday George Osborne was tweeting about how when he was Chancellor “we were all in this together”. Today this entry in the Register of MPs’ Interests dropped:

That’s £650,000 a year for four days’ work a month. Nice day for that news to come out…

Osborne Drops News of BlackRock Job 17 Minutes Before Trump Inauguration

George Osborne drops the news he’s taking a job at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, 17 minutes before Trump’s inauguration kicks off. He will be joining his old aide Rupert Harrison and keeping his part-time role as MP for Tatton. Gotta commend him on his timing and spin:

“BlackRock wants better outcomes for pensioners and savers – and I want to help them deliver that.”

Next month’s Register of MPs’ Interests will be one to look out for…

Guido’s Davos Fashion Report

George Osborne has turned heads with his suit, jumper and trainers combo at Davos this week, complete with a white sole trendy some time in early 2016. He’s with Amal Clooney, fighting injustice in a Chanel haute couture ivory dress on sale at £9,875, styled with a pair of Paul Andrew “Escarpins en daim”, which retail at £290. David Cameron sits back and chillaxes in his natty suede boots, perhaps a new purchase paid for by his speeches in Switzerland this week. Then we have Gordon Brown, who has grown his grey locks long for a slightly Beatles feel. He’s chatting to Shakira, her Latin roots showing through her wavy honey blonde hair with sun-kissed highlights and strawberry blonde lowlights, kept healthy with sulphate-free shampoo. She also poses with Jamie Oliver, slightly out of place with his spivvy over-gelled hair and flasher’s mac. It’s the place to be seen…

Osborne Makes £120,000 in A Week, Celebrates With Cheapo Clegg Lunch

That latest Register of Members’ Interests is in and George Osborne is continuing to coin it on the speaking circuit. He trousered £51,000 from Aberdeen Asset Management for a speech last month and another £68,000 from Dubai-based ITP Publishing for another speech just six says later. That brings Osborne’s speaking total to £627,890 since September. How did he celebrate? Over lunch with Nick Clegg at the Cambridge Street Kitchen in Pimlico, reports LBC’s Vincent McAviney. Described as a “neighbourhood social space”, a light lunch of Cornish crab is just £9 or you can get a burger for £13. Not the priciest place to take Clegg given Osborne’s bank balance. Though wine was taken…

Osborne: Remainers Inauthentic, Too Pessimistic

Osborne has reached the final acceptance stage of grief…

Osborne Making As Much as a Premier League Footballer

osborne

George Osborne might have been standing at the despatch box yesterday as Chancellor on a meagre £141,000-a-year. Instead, he’s trousered £320,000 for speeches to various bankers in the last two months alone. Pro rata that’s nearly £2 million a year, £40,000-a-week, over £5,500-a-day. More than many Premier League footballers make, and around the same salary earned by Leicester City’s champions Riyad Mahrez, Wes Morgan and Danny Drinkwater last season… 

Osborne made £70,000 speaking to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in Washington, as well as nearly £30,000 for a speech at Stanford University. JP Morgan paid him £81,000 and £61,000 for two speeches in New York. Then three weeks ago Osborne was paid £80,000 by Palmex Derivatives. He could’ve been slumming it in Downing Street, instead he’s earned more in two months than the average Briton does in 12 years…

“Best Speech of Osborne’s Career”

More than one Tory MP at the Spectator awards last night described this as the best speech of George Osborne’s life. “There won’t be much time for chit chat, a bit like when Theresa and I last spoke…”

George Osborne, Hero of the Workers?

living wage

We have over the years been hard on George Osborne; his failure to close the deficit, his failure to simplify taxes, his HS2 boondoggle and his fondness for dressing up like Bob the Builder at the drop of a hard hat. Osborne always claimed he wanted to make the Conservatives the “party of the workers”.  His living wage policy has kicked in and it can be fairly said to have generated the fastest rise in earnings since the pre-Thatcher days of high inflation.

Even the redistributional analysis loving wonks at the Resolution Foundation admit “The introduction of the National Living Wage has well and truly made its mark on pay across Britain.” A 6% hike in the earnings of the low paid is more than Labour ever oversaw in 13 years in government. Let’s hope it doesn’t undermine jobs and competitiveness…

Brexit Always Meant Leaving the Single Market

The Remoaners are claiming that Leave voters didn’t know they were voting to leave the single market – which incidentally means leaving the regulatory oversight of the European Commission – not abandoning exporting to the European market.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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