George Osborne's new role 'may lead to change in second job rules'

Rules around MPs taking on second jobs could be altered after George Osborne's appointment as editor of the London Evening Standard, the chair of the country's chief standards watchdog has said.

Former chancellor Mr Osborne will take up the role in May and said he intends to continue in his duties as an MP, representing his Cheshire constituency in Tatton 190 miles from the capital.

But the chairman of the Committee of Standards in Public Life told the Sunday Times that the committee would talk about whether the rules need to be changed in light of Mr Osborne's new role.

Lord Bew said: "We have not ruled out MPs having second jobs, quite deliberately, up until now, but we now have to look again at our rules.

"We are going to discuss whether our rules on second jobs need to be changed in light of this.

"We had something that up to a degree worked. It now seems to be getting into rockier waters."

He told the paper that the role did not fit the current policy on second jobs, but added the issue was "not personal" to Mr Osborne although his situation raised the "issue of how much time MPs have to devote to their parliamentary work".

Mr Osborne's new role has triggered calls for an inquiry into whether he broke rules for former ministers by failing to clear the appointment with the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments prior to accepting.

The Advisory Commitee vets new jobs taken by senior public figures.

Mr Osborne's appointment was welcomed by former prime minister Tony Blair.

"I think it is a great thing for the Evening Standard. Why not? He is a highly capable guy and it should make politics more interesting," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

He has previously sparked controversy for accepting a £162,500-a-quarter role as a part-time adviser to an asset management fund, BlackRock, while earning more than £780,000 in speaking fees since leaving the Treasury.

Mr Osborne also earns £120,000 in relation to a fellowship at the Washington-based McCain Institute, while continuing as unpaid chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.