George Osborne appointed editor of London Evening Standard

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Former chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has been appointed editor of the London Evening Standard.

He will take up his role in May, editing the newspaper four days a week, but will remain as Conservative MP for Tatton, in Cheshire.

Mr Osborne, who was sacked as chancellor by incoming Prime Minister Theresa May last year, replaces the current editor Sarah Sands, who is leaving the Standard after five years at the helm to join the BBC.

He described his new role as an "exciting and challenging job", saying he was "thrilled to take it on".

Mr Osborne said: "Growing up as a Londoner, I've always known that the Evening Standard is an institution that plays a huge part in the life of the city and its people.

"Now it is a great honour that I can play a part as leader of the editorial team making the Evening Standard the definitive voice of the world's most exciting city.

"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."

His new job comes on top of a £650,000-a-year post working for a US asset management fund, announced last week.

Mr Osborne told the Commons Register of Members' Interests he expected to be paid £162,500 every three months for 12 days working as an "adviser on the global economy" for the BlackRock Investment Institute.

This comes on top of his £74,000 salary as a backbench MP, while he has also registered more than £780,000 in payments for making 14 speeches since last September.

The Standard said Mr Osborne's new role would allow him to edit the paper but give him time to work in Parliament in the afternoon after the paper has gone to print.

Mr Osborne vowed to continue working for his Tatton constituency, where he has been MP since 2001.

He said: "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."

And hinting at his editorial style for when he takes over at the Standard, he said: "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."

Evgeny Lebedev, the Standard's owner, called Mr Osborne "London through and through", and lauded him as someone of "huge political achievement, and economic and cultural authority".

He said: "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 is now seeking the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments on his new role, the newspaper said.

A source at the Standard said staff were "shocked and stunned" by the announcement.

Mr Osborne was previously named top of the Standard's 1000 power list, crowning him in 2014 the most influential Londoner, over Boris Johnson and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

Patti Goddard, president of the Tatton Conservative Association, welcomed Mr Osborne's appointment and was not concerned about it interfering with his work representing the area.

She said: "It's exciting that George has got this new big role in our public life. We in the Tatton Conservatives fully support him.

"He's a hard-working constituency MP. In the last couple of weeks alone he's being working with local schools on their concerns about the funding formula, and dealing with some tricky constituency cases.

"The fact he's editing the Evening Standard in the weekday mornings won't affect that at all. After all, being chancellor was a 24/7 job."