21:27 GMT +311 December 2018
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    Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne speaks at the Conservative party manifesto launch in Swindon, England

    Ex-UK Chancellor Defends 'Long History' of Mixing Journalism and Politics

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    Former UK Chancellor George Osborne has defended his widely criticized decision to take on the editorship of one of Britain's most important newspapers, while also remaining a member of parliament, saying there is a "long tradition" of mixing journalism and politics.

    The former chancellor applied for the role of editor of the Standard, saying: "I've always known that the Evening Standard is an institution that plays a huge part in the life of the city and its people. Now it is a great honor that I can play a part as leader of the editorial team making the Evening Standard the definitive voice of the world's most exciting city."

    ​"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. We will be fearless as a paper fighting for their interests. We will judge what the government, London's politicians and the political parties do against this simple test: is it good for our readers and good for London? If it is, we'll support them. If it isn't, we'll be quick to say so," he said.

    ​However, critics said it would be hard to be the editor of such an influential newspaper at the same time as being in government, with many asking what line his paper would take on the next budget given by the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond. If the Standard was critical of aspects of it, would Osborne vote against it?

    "No longer being Chancellor gives me time to do that in other ways — yes, in the Chamber of the House of Commons; but also as the editor of a major newspaper, the Evening Standard. There is a long tradition of politics and journalism mixing," Osborne wrote in an open letter to his constituents in Tatton, north west England.

    The House of Commons ethics committee is understood to be considering asking Osborne to choose between continuing as an MP — for which he earns US$92,000 — or the editor role, which is believed to pay in the region of US$249,000. He also is paid US$810,000 for advising fund management giant BlackRock.

    ​His appointment at the Standard is significant, in that it is seen as the "voice of London" and which backed the campaign to remain in the EU — as did Osborne.

    The fact that he is now the editor, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May — who sacked Osborne as chancellor — is negotiating Brexit makes for stormy water ahead between the two, while he remains in her party as a member of parliament.

    Related:

    Former UK Chancellor Osborne Named Evening Standard Editor
    UK Chancellor of Exchequer Osborne Replaced by Ex-Foreign Secretary Hammond
    Ex-London Mayor Offers Chancellor or Foreign Minister Post to Osborne
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    chancellor, ex-Chancellor, editor, editorial policy, journalism, Evening Standard, UK Parliament, George Osborne, United Kingdom, London
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