George Osborne claims 'overwhelming support' from local Conservative Party


George Osborne has claimed he has "overwhelming support" from his local Conservative Party in Cheshire, despite being appointed editor of London's Evening Standard.

The former chancellor's new job has proved controversial after he said he intends to combine the newspaper role with that of representing his constituents in Tatton, 190 miles from the capital, in Parliament.

But following an annual general meeting of the Tatton Conservatives, Mr Osborne said: "We had a great annual meeting.

"I'm so grateful for the overwhelming support I got from Tatton Conservatives tonight. It's a huge honour to be the local MP here."

Patti Goddard, president of the Tatton Conservative Association and chairman of the AGM, described Mr Osborne as "our star".

"We've just had our annual meeting of the Tatton Conservatives," she said.

"It was incredibly positive.

"There was unanimous support among the members for our local MP, George Osborne.

"He's always been able to work hard as a local MP as well as being a big figure on the national stage - whether as Chancellor or an editor.

"We've got complete confidence in his ability to do so in the future."

It comes after a Whitehall sleaze watchdog announced a review of its guidance on MPs' second jobs in the wake of Mr Osborne's move into journalism.

But the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life insisted that the review was not prompted solely by the Osborne case, saying that it had been under consideration for some time.

Lord Bew said the committee wanted to look again at its 2009 guidance that second jobs were acceptable so long as voters were informed about them at the time of the election.

And he said that it would consider what was the "reasonable limit" that could be applied to the extent of MPs' outside interests.

"It is for the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, and the House of Commons Committee on Standards to rule on individual cases," he added.

Lord Bew said that the committee had previously taken the view that it was "not entirely desirable" to have a class of professional politicians with no experience of other occupations from careers outside Parliament.

But he said: "It is clear that the public's attitude has shifted on this matter and is more negative about it, although I can tell you from the letters we receive that the public is still divided on this issue."

He pointed out, in an apparent reference to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, that "there have been MPs in the past who edited things like The Spectator very effectively and nobody at that point regarded it as a major problem".

But he added: "We now need to have a proper review. We want to hear from the public and we want to engage also with the regulatory bodies ... because there's an issue now about the Code of Conduct for MPs and how it deals with this particular issue."