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How can George Osborne edit a newspaper and advise an investment company at the same time?

George Osborne's new job isn't a great look for the Evening Standard. It's not clear how it will work for him, either.

“How will the Standard Diary work, then?” That was the query of one MP shortly after the news that George Osborne, notionally the Conservative MP for Tatton in the spare moments between his job as a financial adviser at BlackRock, his fellowship at the McCain Institute in Virginia and his evening engagements on the speaking circuit will be the new editor of the Evening Standard.

The diary column covers the embarrassments of politicians, journalists and celebrities, the first two of which Osborne will still wish to secure favour with if his dreams, which, I’m told, still remain active, of political renaissance and revenge upon his enemies.

But the problems continue throughout the paper: how can someone who advisers a global investment firm edit the Standard’s city pages? What about a vote when the interests of his constituents align with the government but those of the Standard’s editorial line diverge? (For instance: any bill on transport infrastructure.) “On every page,” one politician observes, “there is a problem.”

In addition, he will have a vote on press regulation and any number of issues which may be of benefit to the Standard and its advertisers.

Those are some of the ways that the appointment is deeply troubling from an accountability perspective – and why Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, has called for him to be stripped of his membership of the Privy Council.

But the move is also mystifying in terms of Osborne’s continuing political ambitions. Close allies of the ex-Chancellor in the middle of the week were gleefully observing the chaos of the Budget and its wasting effect on the fortunes of Theresa May, who sacked him, and Philip Hammond, who replaced him. Osborne still hopes to return to the frontline of British politics. How on earth is he going to keep his hand in with Conservative MPs and build alliances with them while editing a newspaper?

Something will have to give. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

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Jeremy Corbyn: “wholesale” EU immigration has destroyed conditions for British workers

The Labour leader has told Andrew Marr that his party wants to leave the single market.

Mass immigration from the European Union has been used to "destroy" the conditions of British workers, Jeremy Corbyn said today. 

The Labour leader was pressed on his party's attitude to immigration on the Andrew Marr programme. He reiterated his belief that Britain should leave the Single Market, claiming that "the single market is dependent on membership of the EU . . . the two things are inextricably linked."

Corbyn said that Labour would argue for "tarriff-free trade access" instead. However, other countries which enjoy this kind of deal, such as Norway, do so by accepting the "four freedoms" of the single market, which include freedom of movement for people. Labour MP Chuka Umunna has led a parliamentary attempt to keep Britain in the single market, arguing that 66 per cent of Labour members want to stay. The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon said that "Labour's failure to stand up for common sense on single market will make them as culpable as Tories for Brexit disaster".

Laying out the case for leaving the single market, Corbyn used language we have rarely heard from him - blaming immigration for harming the lives of British workers.

The Labour leader said that after leaving the EU, there would still be European workers in Britain and vice versa. He added: "What there wouldn't be is the wholesale importation of underpaid workers from central Europe in order to destroy conditions, particularly in the construction industry." 

Corbyn said he would prevent agencies from advertising jobs in central Europe - asking them to "advertise in the locality first". This idea draws on the "Preston model" adopted by that local authority, of trying to prioritise local suppliers for public sector contracts. The rules of the EU prevent this approach, seeing it as discrimination. 

In the future, foreign workers would "come here on the basis of the jobs available and their skill sets to go with it. What we wouldn't allow is this practice by agencies, who are quite disgraceful they way they do it - recruit a workforce, low paid - and bring them here in order to dismiss an existing workforce in the construction industry, then pay them low wages. It's appalling. And the only people who benefit are the companies."

Corbyn also said that a government led by him "would guarantee the right of EU nationals to remain here, including a right of family reunion" and would hope for a reciprocal arrangement from the EU for British citizens abroad. 

Matt Holehouse, the UK/EU correspondent for MLex, said Corbyn's phrasing was "Ukippy". 

Asked by Andrew Marr if he had sympathy with Eurosceptics - having voted against previous EU treaties such as Maastricht - Corbyn clarified his stance on the EU. He was against a "deregulated free market across Europe", he said, but supported the "social" aspects of the EU, such as workers' rights. However, he did not like its opposition to state subsidy of industry.

On student fees, Corbyn was asked "What did you mean by 'I will deal with it'?". He said "recognised" that graduates faced a huge burden from paying off their fees but did not make a manifesto commitment to forgive the debt from previous years. However, Labour would abolish student debt from the time it was elected. Had it won the 2017 election, students in the 2017/18 intake would not pay fees (or these would be refunded). 

The interview also covered the BBC gender pay gap. Corbyn said that Labour would look at a gender pay audit in every company, and a pay ratio - no one could receive more than 20 times the salary of the lowest paid employee. "The BBC needs to look at itself . . . the pay gap is astronomical," he added. 

He added that he did not think it was "sustainable" for the government to give the DUP £1.5bn and was looking forward to another election.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.