Former chancellor George Osborne has taken time out from his newly-established portfolio career to wade into the debate about Charlotte Hogg, the now ex-Bank of England deputy governor for markets and banking.
Hogg, who came under fierce criticism last week when it emerged that she had forgotten to add her banker brother's name to her official list of potential conflicts of interest, resigned today after a report by the Treasury Select Committee suggested called into question her competency.
This afternoon Osborne tweeted that her resignation was a "real loss of public life". He also questioned whether Charlotte would now be in the same position, had her name been Charles.
Charlotte Hogg is a real loss to public life. Would she have gone if she had been an older man whose sister worked at a bank? I wonder ....— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 14, 2017
Where did this sudden flash of chivalry come from? Although deputy governor of the Bank of England is a Treasury-appointed role, meaning the chancellor was involved in Hogg's hiring, she was only handed her new role last month, so it's not like Osborne used to be her boss. Before that, she was the Bank's chief operating officer, one of governor Mark Carney's first hires.
A Bank of England wag tells us Hogg and Osborne never met formally - although "I'm sure she may have run into him".
However, Osborne did once work as a special adviser to Douglas Hogg, the former agriculture minister and Charlotte's father, during the BSE crisis (incidentally, also the MP who allegedly claimed for moat cleaning during the MPs' expenses scandal). Perhaps the pair's eyes met during a fevered debate on mad cow disease.