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March 17, 2017updated 20 Mar 2017 10:25am

Former Chancellor George Osborne to be new editor of the Evening Standard

By Dominic Ponsford

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is to be the new editor of the London Evening Standard.

Osborne will continue in his role as MP for Tatton, Cheshire, and will start at the Standard in mid-May.

Current editor Sarah Sands is leaving the title to become editor of the BBC’s Today programme on Radio 4.

In a statement the paper said: “The Standard’s schedule will enable Mr Osborne to edit the paper and continue to fulfil his other commitments, including as an MP; giving him the time to vote and contribute in Parliament in the afternoon after the paper has gone to print, and be in his constituency. He will edit the paper an average of four days a week.”

Osborne said: “This is such an exciting and challenging job and I’m thrilled to take it on.

“The Evening Standard is a great paper, testimony to the hard work of Sarah Sands and the impressive team, and to the investment of its owners. I look forward to working with, learning from and leading this team of dedicated professionals.

“Growing up as a Londoner, 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 honour 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.

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“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.

“So much is now at stake about the future of our country and its capital city. I will remain in Parliament, where that future is debated. I was elected by my constituents in Tatton to serve them and I intend to fulfil that promise.

“I remain passionate about the Northern Powerhouse and will continue to promote that cause. Right from the first speech I gave about the North of England, I’ve said that London needs a successful north and the north benefits from its links to a global city like London.

“It’s not a zero-sum game, but quite the opposite.”

Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev said: “In George, we have appointed someone of huge political achievement, and economic and cultural authority.

“Once he put himself forward for the position, he was the obvious choice. I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces the Evening Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – liberal on social issues and pragmatic on economic ones – closely matches those of many of our readers.”

Osborne is seeking the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments on his appointment.

Osborne has spent nearly his entire career in politics after being elected to represent the Conservative Party as an MP in 2001.

He had early ambitions to be a journalist but spent just a few months freelancing on the Telegraph’s diary column in 1993 before joining the Conservatives as a researcher.

Osborne was previously named top of the Standard’s 1000 power list, crowning him in 2014 the most influential Londoner, over Boris Johnson and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.

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