George Osborne has landed a City job estimated to be worth at least £200,000 a year - but won’t be quitting as an MP.
The former Chancellor will not be stepping down from Parliament, despite his new role as an adviser to Blackrock Investments, the world’s biggest asset manager, his office confirmed.
Osborne will work at least one day a week at the company’s investment ‘institute’, but under Whitehall rules won’t be allowed to lobby the Government for another 17 months.
The post, which is said by insiders to be worth ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’, was approved on Friday by the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).
Since being fired by Theresa May last summer, he has already earned more than £500,000 in speeches in New York and Dubai. This week he earned another large sum for a meeting with HSBC bank at the Davos global summit.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell attacked Osborne for ‘sneaking out’ his new job under the cover of Donald Trump’s inauguration as US President.
When added to his MP’s salary of £74,962 a year, Osborne’s new fee for advising on “the global economy” is likely to make him the highest paid MP in Parliament.
Although he insists he will continue his work as an MP four days a week, and will serve his constituents in his Tatton seat in Cheshire, the move is sure to spark speculation that Osborne is preparing to step down from politics.
He stressed that he was still determined to promote the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ policy of devolving more power and better roads, rail and business to the north.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who has also earned large sums since quitting Westminster, this week joked at an event in Davos that he is “available for weddings and bar mitzvahs”.
In a statement, Osborne said: “I am excited to be working with the BlackRock Investment Institute as an adviser. BlackRock wants better outcomes for pensioners and savers - and I want to help them deliver that.
“It’s a chance for me to work part-time with one of the world’s most respected firms and a major employer in Britain.
“The majority of my time will be devoted to being an MP, representing my constituents and promoting the Northern Powerhouse. My goal is to go on learning, gaining new experience and get an even better understanding of the world.”
The former Chancellor will be reunited with Rupert Harrison, his former Treasury chief of staff who took on a senior role with Blackrock last year.
A source close to Osborne said that his precise earnings would be declared in full accordance with the MPs’ Register of Interests rules.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told HuffPost UK: “The timing on this is disappointing, sneaking it out on a Friday just before the inauguration of President Trump seems like it was done in an attempt to hide the announcement.
“It looks like the former Chancellor also seems to think that after Theresa May’s speech this week it’s looking like a Banker’s Brexit that the Tories have in mind for our country.
“But in the communities that have been hit hardest by his austerity policies of the last six years, people will wonder, are we still ‘all in it together’?”
Labour’s Shadow Minister without Portfolio, Andrew Gwynne, told HuffPost UK that he hoped Osborne would find time “in his busy schedule” to support those who elected him.
“It is of little surprise that the ‘part-time’ Chancellor has become a ‘part-time’ member of Parliament after taking up this new role,” Gwynne said.
“The country needs a government that’s concentrating on Brexit - one of the biggest tasks we’ve faced as a country in living memory - but once again, another Tory politician is stuffing their pockets instead of concentrating on the job.
“I hope he performs a better job at Blackrock than he did as Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he left behind a record of failed budgets, ideological cuts that did nothing for our economy, soaring levels of inequality, and the largest productivity gap between the UK and our competitors since the early 90s.”
Like all former ministers, Osborne had to submit his plans to ACOBA before taking up his role.
The committee, which is chaired by former Tory minister Baroness Browning, wrote that the Treasury had no objection to his new post and noted that his new contract included a clause that he would not be expected to work with the Government.
In its letter, the committee stated that he was allowed the new role on condition that:
“he should not draw on (disclose or use for the benefit of himself or the persons or organisations to which this advice refers) any privileged information available to him from his time as a Minister and;
for two years from his last day in service, he should not become personally involved in lobbying the UK Government on behalf of Blackrock Investment Institute or any part of the Blackrock Group or its clients.”
Blackrock’s Investment Institute is an internal network which provides investment research on macroeconomic factors to the group’s fund managers.