In a surprising announcement over the weekend, a London daily newspaper has announced a sitting MP as its new editor.

Conservative MP George Osborne was the Chancellor of the Exchequer in David Cameron’s conservative government from 2010 to 2016, and will add editing the free Evening Standard to his daily duties from May.

BBC media editor Amol Rajan broke the news on Twitter on Saturday.

Osborne has never worked as a journalist, and as well as continuing as an MP, he works four days a month at asset manager BlackRock.

According to Rajan’s report for the BBC, Osborne was one of 30 applicants for the position.

The move has been met with shock by politicians and media commentators in the UK.

According to Business Insider reporter Adam Bienkov, the newsroom was not overjoyed by the announcement, tweeting that one staffer had, for the first time, considered pretending they worked for the Daily Mail, which operates from the same building.

Columnist for The Guardian Marina Hyde sees it like this: “One of the more questionable pleasures of the age has been to watch people who used to be journalists cocking up the country, and people who used to cock up the country becoming journalists.”

This is not the first time a politician has taken the helm of a publication. Current UK Foreign Secretary and former London mayor Boris Johnson worked as the part-time editor of The Spectator while still representing his electorate as an MP. He quit when he was promoted to the frontbench.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey