George Osborne has defended his decision to become editor of the London Evening Standard, telling MPs that Parliament will be “enhanced” by his new role.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer has faced criticism in Fleet Street and Westminster over his decision to accept the editorship with some arguing it presents a conflict of interest with his role as the Conservative MP for Tatton.
But responding in a discussion prompted by a question from the Labour shadow minister without portfolio Andrew Gwynne, Mr Osborne said: “In my view this parliament is enhanced when we have people of different experience take part in our robust debate and when people who have held senior ministerial office continue to contribute to the decisions we have to make.”
Since being sacked by Theresa May last July, Mr Osborne has accepted four other jobs including a £650,000 a year consultancy with the asset management firm BlackRock, and chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
Mr Osborne’s new job has prompted parliament’s Committee on Standards in Public Life to review its rules on MPs taking second jobs. The committee will discuss Mr Osborne’s latest role on Thursday.
Ben Gummer, the Cabinet Office minister, said MPs’ second jobs were a matter of “ongoing concern to the public widely” and will be reviewed again by Parliament.
Mr Gummer also confirmed that the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) is currently considering Mr Osborne’s editorship of the Standard. Last week Acoba expressed its disapproval at the way Mr Osborne had submitted his application four days before his appointment was made public.