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Double-jobbing rules for MPs could change over Osborne: NI peer

By Allan Preston

A Belfast academic who chairs a Government watchdog has said rules about MPs taking on second jobs may be shaken up after former Chancellor George Osborne's appointment as editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper.

Lord Bew, who lectures in Irish politics and history at Queen's University, serves as a cross-bench peer and chairs the standards in public life committee. He said Mr Osborne's new role made him "uncomfortable".

"We have not ruled out MPs having second jobs, quite deliberately, up until now, but we now have to look again at our rules," he told the Sunday Times.

"We are going to discuss whether our rules on second jobs need to be changed in light of this. We had something that up to a degree worked, it now seems to be getting into rockier waters."

Lord Bew added that other committee members shared his concerns.

"Unless someone sleeps two hours a night, that's the only way I can see how this is not (too much)," he said.

"You can see immediately why certain things might fit it (the policy on second jobs) and this one doesn't. This is not personal to George Osborne. But (his case) raises the issue of how much time MPs have to devote to their parliamentary work."

Mr Osborne begins his newspaper role in May and has said he will carry on representing his constituency of Tatton, 190 miles away.

His appointment has also sparked calls for an inquiry into whether he broke rules for former ministers by failing to get permission for the new role.

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