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Friday, March 17, 2017

Former UK Finance Minister George Osborne Named Editor Of Leading London Paper

George Osborne, who was replaced as Britain's finance minister last year after helping lead the campaign to stay in the European Union, was given a high profile platform on Friday as the editor of London's main metropolitan daily paper. 

The announcement that Mr Osborne will edit the London Evening Standard despite virtually no journalism experience astonished his fellow politicians, and gives a tribune to a rival of Prime Minister Theresa May within her Conservative Party.

He is one of the leading Conservative opponents of exiting the European Union, replaced unceremoniously by Ms May as one of her first acts after taking power following the referendum last June.

"I am proud to have an editor of such substance," said the Standard's owner, Evgeny Lebedev, adding that Mr Osborne's socially liberal and economically pragmatic political views matched those of the paper's readers in London.

Unlike the other major British newspapers, morning papers sold nationally, the Standard is distributed exclusively in London, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.

Its 900,000 copies are distributed free in train stations and are ubiquitous among homebound commuters, making it influential with the capital's elites in media, the arts, business and politics.

Mr Osborne, now 45, became Britain's youngest Chancellor of the Exchequer for more than a century when the Conservatives took power in 2010.

As the country's second most powerful politician under then Prime Minister David Cameron, he was the architect of Mr Cameron's "austerity" policy of spending cuts to tame historically large budget deficits in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

He was widely tipped to succeed Mr Cameron, until last year's Brexit fiasco, when Mr Cameron called the referendum on EU membership, campaigned to stay in, lost the vote and quit.

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