George Osbourne, the former chancellor, has said he is stepping down as an MP “for now” following his decision to take a job as editor of the Evening Standard and other lucrative roles outside the House of Commons.
Following 24 hours of speculation about his future, he told the Evening Standard he was quitting but hinted he may want to return to frontline politics in future. Fat chance there Georgie boy...
His decision to quit will be a relief for Theresa May, who sacked him as chancellor when she took over last July. Osborne had indicated he was prepared to fight against a hard Brexit taking the UK out of the single market from the backbenches.
He has been under pressure from some Conservative colleagues and the opposition to go since he was revealed as the surprise choice to edit the London newspaper. Labour raised concerns about the potential conflict of interest between his job as a Tory MP and publishing objective news coverage for readers.
Some of his constituents also opposed the idea of having a part-time MP who was editing a London newspaper and four other roles, which collectively made him the highest-earning member of the Commons.
Since becoming a backbencher, Osborne declared new employment paying £650,000 a year for one day’s work a week for fund manager BlackRock. He has earned £800,000 for 15 speaking engagements in the last year, collects a £120,000 a year stipend from a US thinktank and has a book deal on top of the £75,000 MP’s salary. He will take up his editorship in mid-May.
Almost 200,000 people had signed a petition started by one of his constituents urging him to “pick a job”.
Osbourne can expect to be welcomed on his first day as editor of the Standard by a mass reception of London's Taxi drivers, called by the Independent Taxi Alliance.
The ex-chancellor sold the London Taxi and Private hire industries down the river in favour of a NonDomicile company that pays no Tax or VAT and treats its workers like slaves.
Osbourne and former Prime Minister Cameron put pressure on former Mayor Boris Johnson, which saw TfL change statutory legislation to allow licensing of this toxic company by TfL.