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Osborne is urged to give up MP seat as he takes on role of editor

By Dominic Harris

Former Chancellor 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 a Conservative MP.

His appointment was met with incredulity and criticism from some MPs and journalists, with calls for him to step down from his seat of Tatton in Cheshire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the appointment makes a "mockery of media neutrality and insults the voters he is supposed to serve", while former Tatton MP Martin Bell wondered if the announcement was "fake news".

The National Union of Journalists said: "Genuinely qualified journalists who would have done this hugely important job seriously are seeing it snatched away in a blatant, cynical political move."

But Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called it a "brilliant appointment for the Evening Standard and good for London", adding: "Hooray!"

The Standard said Mr Osborne would edit the paper four days a week but have time to work in Parliament in the afternoon once the paper had gone to print.

Mr Osborne, who was sacked as Chancellor by Theresa May last year, replaces Sarah Sands, who is leaving after five years at the helm to join the BBC.

He said: "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."

The new job brings the total he holds to six, including one unpaid Northern Powerhouse role and his public speaking.

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.

He will be paid £120,000 this year to be a Kissinger Fellow at the McCain Institute in Washington DC. This comes on top of his £74,000 salary as an MP, while he has also registered more than £780,000 in payments for 14 speeches since last September.

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