George Osborne: Second-job rules for MPs to be examined


George Osborne: Second-job rules for MPs to be examined

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Image caption George Osborne was announced as the London Evening Standard's editor on Friday

The rules on MPs taking second jobs are to be discussed by a parliamentary committee on Thursday.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life was prompted to meet after former Chancellor George Osborne was made editor of the London Evening Standard.

Lord Bew, who chairs the committee, told the Sunday Times it was not "personal" but it "raises the issue".

Mr Osborne also faces criticism for not getting Cabinet Office approval before taking the post.

MPs are allowed to have second jobs, but Lord Bew said the committee would discuss whether the rules needed to be changed in light of Mr Osborne's appointment.

"We had something that, up to a degree, worked. It now seems to be getting into rockier waters," the peer said.

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Mr Osborne, who is the MP for Tatton and Cheshire, was announced as the new editor for the free daily paper on Friday.

This latest job is in addition to his work as:

  • An after-dinner speaker in the US
  • Chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership
  • Adviser to fund management firm Blackrock
  • A fellow at the McCain Institute

"Unless someone sleeps two hours a night, that's the only way I can see how this is not [too much]," added Lord Bew.

"This is not personal to George Osborne. But [his case] raises the issue of how much time MPs have to devote to their parliamentary work."

Image caption George Osborne addressed staff at the newspaper on Friday

The editorship announcement also came before Mr Osborne had received approval from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, or Acoba.

The body, within the Cabinet Office, is responsible for approving jobs taken by former ministers up to two years after they leave office, and it had already expressed "concern" when the MP did not notify them of a previous job offer, according to the Sunday Times.

'No political exit'

A friend of Mr Osborne is quoted in the paper as saying that the former chancellor would not be standing down as an MP.

"George is not quitting politics and he is not quitting the public sphere.

"If anyone thinks he's off earning money and preparing for a departure from the British political scene, they should prepare for the exact opposite."