Former Chancellor George Osborne has been announced as the London Evening Standard’s new editor, which came as a major surprise to journalists and politicians in Westminster.
Mr Osborne will replace Sarah Sands, who’ll be leaving to work for the BBC, and begin his duties as Editor in early May.
Following the announcement, George Osborne said: “This is such an exciting and challenging job and I’m thrilled to take it on.
“The Evening Standard is a great paper, testimony to the hard work of Sarah Sands and the impressive team, and to the investment of its owners. I look forward to working with, learning from and leading this team of dedicated professionals.”
Evgeny Lebedev, Evening Standard’s proprietor, said: “In George, we have appointed someone of huge political achievement, and economic and cultural authority. Once he put himself forward for the position, he was the obvious choice.
“I am proud to have an Editor of such substance, who reinforces the Evening Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – liberal on social issues and pragmatic on economic ones – closely matches those of many of our readers.”
Mr Osborne visited the Evening Standard’s newsroom shortly after the announcement, telling journalists: “I may have run the country but I haven’t run a newspaper”.
"I may have run a country but I haven't run a newspaper", George Osborne tells the Standard newsroom. pic.twitter.com/ZHIxEiyp3z
— Rachel Roberts (@TheRachelPaper) March 17, 2017
Calls to resign
Despite his new job as the Editor of one of London’s biggest newspapers, George Osborne intends to continue to be the Member of Parliament for Tatton.
Mr Osborne stated: “I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise.” But Labour MPs reacted angrily, saying the ex-Chancellor should quit and trigger a by-election due to conflicts of interests.
Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North and chair of the London Group of Labour MPs, said that “this is a real disservice to Tatton and to professional journalism.
“He simply cannot continue as an MP wile editing a daily newspaper and his appointments raises serious doubts about whether London’s Labour Mayor, MPs and councils will receive fair coverage under such an obviously partisan editor.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “It’s taking multitasking to an extreme level – what a joke”.
It's taking multitasking to an extreme level – what a joke https://t.co/m4a6GWwVnJ
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) March 17, 2017
And former Labour leader Ed Miliband joked that he’d “shortly be announced as editor of Heat magazine”.
Breaking: I will shortly be announced as editor of Heat magazine….
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) March 17, 2017