Ruth Davidson says George Osborne cannot be MP and edit the Evening Standard

Posted On: 
19th March 2017

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has cast doubt on George Osborne's plans to edit the Evening Standard while continuing to be an MP. 

George Osborne listening to the Budget last week
Credit: 
PA

Ruth Davidson, who worked as a BBC journalist for many years before entering politics, said she could not see how the former Chancellor would have time for both jobs.

But he did get the backing of Tony Blair, who said the move would be "a great thing for the Evening Standard".

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Speaking to the Andrew Marr Show this morning, Ms Davidson said: "I have to say I thought 'well, he's a better man than me' because I spent ten years as a journalist, I've now spent six years as a politician and I'm not sure you can combine them both because, you know, I work a pretty busy week as it is and this week in particular, so I'm not sure you can do both at the same time, if I'm honest," she said. 

Along with his new role at the London newspaper, Tatton MP Mr Osborne also works one day a week in an advisory role for investment firm BlackRock.

News of his latest appointment sparked outrage among some MPs, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn calling it "a joke" and demanding a by-election in Mr Osborne's Tatton seat.

Parliament's Committee on Standards is looking at reviewing its rules to outlaw MPs taking on jobs which affect their constituency duties.

Several Conservative MPs, including former party leader Iain Duncan Smith, voiced their anger about Mr Osborne's new job on a WhatsApp group, according to the Sunday Times.

"Hmmm . . . why do I keep thinking of Gordon Gekko . . . greed is good," Mr Duncan Smith wrote.

Fellow eurosceptic Sir Gerald Howarth added: "A man of his immense ability can surely speak for Cheshire and London before lunch, advise BlackRock over lunch and tender his invaluable advice to the House after lunch before holding a dinner party for the bien pensants remainians of Notting Hill in the evening. Sorted.”

However former prime minister Mr Blair offered glowing praise for his former political opponent, telling Andrew Marr: “I don’t know whether having those jobs is doable or not, but I think it’s a great thing for the Evening Standard, why not? And he’s a highly capable guy and it should make politics more interesting.”