George Osborne seems set on being both an MP and Standard editor as he defended taking on his new role in an open letter addressed to his Cheshire constituents.
Osborne said the job was a way for him to “continue to take part in the debate about the future direction of our country” after leaving Downing Street as Chancellor of the Exchequer last year.
In the letter, published in the Knutsford Guardian yesterday, he said he had spent sixteen years as MP for Tatton (just outside Knutsford) taking part in the “national debate”.
“For almost all of those sixteen years, I have also held prominent positions in the public life of the country,” he said.
“For five years I was Shadow Chancellor. For these last six years I was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“It was a real privilege to hold one of the great offices of state but it is also one of the most demanding jobs in the country – working dawn to dusk, and on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Throughout that time I was there for you as your local MP.
“Now I have left Downing Street I want to continue to take part in the debate about the future direction of our country.
“No longer being Chancellor gives me time to do that in other ways – yes, in the Chamber of the House of Commons; but also as the editor of a major newspaper, the Evening Standard.
“There is a long tradition of politics and journalism mixing. One of the greatest newspaper editors ever, CP Scott, combined editing the Manchester Guardian with being an MP.
“In our age, politicians from Iain Macleod and Richard Crossman to, of course, Boris Johnson have combined the role of editor and Member of Parliament.”
Johnson was editor of the Spectator for six years while MP for Henley.
Osborne repeated his Commons claim that his appointment as editor was good for Parliament, writing: “I believe this diversity of experience makes our Parliament stronger”.
Former Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley told Press Gazette she believed the controversy over Osborne’s appointment was a “storm in a teacup” and that he would likely take on more of an editor-in-chief style role.
Newsquest-owned the Knutsford Guardian has a weekly circulation of 4,444 copies according to ABC figures to December 2016.
Picture: PA Wire