The ethics committee assessing George Osborne’s new job as editor of the Evening Standard is understood to be actively considering a call for the former chancellor to delay or decline the role.
The former chancellor was widely criticised for his decision not to quit his Tatton seat in north-west England since it was announced that he would take up the position. He irritated the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba), which considers whether new jobs for former ministers could present a conflict of interest, by announcing the appointment before they were given time to review any potential conflict with his duties as MP and his former role at the Treasury.
The committee is usually given at least a month to carry out research into what contacts a former minister had in his or her department that could constitute a conflict of interest in any new role, but it is understood that some members of the committee were informed less than an hour before Osborne’s appointment was made public. They are now expected to give advice within two weeks.
Osborne defended his new job on Monday, telling the House of Commons that parliament benefited from members bringing in experience of different sectors alongside their constituency work. He was responding to an urgent question from Labour’s election co-ordinator Andrew Gwynne over a potential conflict of interest.
“I thought it was important to be here, though unfortunately we have missed the deadline of the Evening…