Did George Osborne break parliamentary rules by signing his contract with the Evening Standard too quickly?

Mark Sands
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The Former Chancellor George Osborne Arrives At The Evening Standard Newspaper For His First Day As Editor
Osborne started his role as Evening Standard editor earlier today (Source: Getty)

Former chancellor George Osborne has earned a new telling-off from a parliamentary watchdog, which claims he failed to comply with rules on new jobs for ministers.

Osborne formally began his role at the London paper today, but was announced as Evening Standard editor in mid-March.

As a former minister, Osborne was required to submit information about his new role to parliament's Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

However, he did so just days before it was announced by the Standard, with the committee claiming today it had been given insufficient time to respond, despite the statement on his appointment referencing Acoba's ongoing scrutiny.

And the watchdog also said Osborne had failed to comply with parliamentary rules by signing his contract with the newspaper before receiving advice from the committee.

Read More: Osborne deserves criticism, but his new salary isn't why

In a letter to Osborne published today, Acoba said: "The committee is very concerned that despite the press statement noting you were still seeking the committee’s advice, you subsequently signed a contract of employment with the Evening Standard on 20 March - without having received the committee’s advice. It was not appropriate for you to do so.

"You did not disclose any intention to do so to the committee when you originally submitted your application, nor have you provided an explanation for this during the course of the committee’s consideration."

This is not in compliance with the Business Appointment Rules, which state that former ministers ‘must abide by the advice of the committee’ – advice which you were yet to receive."

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It is the second time Osborne has earned the displeasure of the committee. His launch of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership also took place before he had disclosed the plans to the parliamentary watchdog.

Osborne will stand down as MP for the constituency of Tatton at the General Election. Former minister Esther McVey will stand as the Conservative candidate to replace him.

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