MPs' second jobs rules scrutinised following Osborne appointment at Standard

A sleaze watchdog has launched a consultation on reforming rules on MPs' second jobs in the wake of former chancellor George Osborne's new job as a newspaper editor.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life will look at whether ex-ministers and other senior Parliamentarians face greater potential conflicts of interest when they take up outside work.

It will assess 2009 guidance which says additional employment is allowed within "reasonable limits".

The findings of the review will be reported to the House of Commons Committee on Standards' review of the Code of Conduct for MPs in June.

Lord Bew has previously insisted that his review was not prompted solely by the Osborne case, saying that it had been under consideration for some time.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life chairman said: "While it is for others to consider individual cases, the committee wants to look at the current compromise which does not ban MPs holding outside interests, providing they are within 'reasonable limits' and that there is transparency about them.

"We welcome views from the public and any interested parties on these issues. For example, what factors should be taken into account in determining the 'reasonable limits' on MPs' outside interests and is the current level of transparency sufficient?"

Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to strip George Osborne of the Tory whip to avoid a conflict of interest between his new role as editor of the Evening Standard and being an MP.

Labour said it was "intolerable" for the operation of a free press that a Fleet Street boss should also be subject to the control of party enforcers.