Ever since leaving parliament, George Osborne has been piling up jobs almost as fast as he piled up the national debt when in office (nine, at the last count) But he might soon have an easier balancing act, with his editorship of the Evening Standard in question.
The rumour from Derry Street is that the typically chummy relationship between Osborne and Evgeny Lebedev has been strained since Christmas. What could have led to a cold spell? Disagreement over Putin? Boris? London’s upcoming mayoral election?
Mr S hears that a rather more mundane incident could be to blame. In the run up to Christmas, the Standard published pictures of Lebedev alongside his old friend and frequent party guest Boris Johnson at a homeless centre as part of the paper’s campaign to end rough sleeping in London.
Rumour has it that Lebedev didn’t like the particular photo of him, and asked for it to change – only to have Osborne refuse, saying the front page picture was the editor’s prerogative. A blow-up ensued, bringing to a head wider concerns about the amount of time Osborne is able to commit to the job. The pair have been locked in a ‘showdown’ ever since. Will it be resolved? Or might Osborne be down to his last eight jobs? Stay tuned…