The editor of the local paper in George Osborne’s constituency has said she thought it was “April Fool’s” when he announced that he was taking over editing the London Evening Standard.
Soon after the announcement, in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, Carla Flynn, who edits the Knutsford Guardian, wrote: “Just checked our work experience diary @George_Osborne, we’ve got space next Thursday?”
She later went on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme to question how he would juggle two demanding roles and offer some sage advice.
She said: “It’s a 24/7 job. It’s not a nine to five. Journalists just can’t possibly work those hours. News breaks at any time and you have to be ready to react. It’s a pretty full-on job.”
Asked how he would manage his editorial role in the morning and then parliamentary work in the afternoon, Flynn laughed before responding: “If there is a big story that breaks in the afternoon and he is in parliament he has got a bit of dilemma there. Does he stay in that role in parliament or does he go back to the office and deal with the big breaking story?”
Flynn said locals in Knutsford were concerned about Osborne being able commit enough time to his constituents when he would be more than 170 miles away for four days a week editing a paper.
She added: “Judging by the feedback there is shock and confusion about how he will manage two demanding roles. Being an MP is a full-time job and certainly being a newspaper editor is. People don’t know how he will pay enough attention to Tatton’s needs.
“Since he lost his position of chancellor constituents thought they would be seeing more of their MP, but that hasn’t been the case and we’ve received an increasing number of letters questioning George’s commitment to Tatton.
“Given the huge reaction we’ve already had from readers today since the news broke, I think this will be the final straw for a lot of constituents.”