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George Osborne defends new role as editor despite challenge by MPs

Press Association logoPress Association 20/03/2017 By Kate Ferguson and Richard Wheeler, Press Association Political Staff
George Osborne's appointment as editor of the London Evening Standard will be challenged in the Commons.: Northern Powerhouse © PA WIRE Northern Powerhouse

George Osborne has defended his appointment as London Evening Standard editor, telling the Commons that Parliament is "enhanced" when people of different experience take part in it.

The former chancellor has faced criticism and calls to step down as an MP for Tatton after news of his new job broke.

Appearing in the Commons after Labour asked an urgent question on the topic, Mr Osborne said he will "listen" to what other MPs think of his decision.

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Looking relaxed, Mr Osborne opened with a joke as he defended his new job to fellow MPs.

He said: "When I heard that this urgent question had been granted I thought it was important to be here, although unfortunately we have missed the deadline for the Evening Standard.

"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.

"But I will listen to what my colleagues have to say in this debate, I'm interested to hear."

Mr Osborne has taken a string of new jobs since leaving the Tory backbench last year.

He earns £650,000 a year as an adviser to US investment firm BlackRock, chairs the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, is a Kissinger Fellow and has become a face on the lucrative after-dinner speech circuit.

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