- George Osborne
name = George Osborne
honorific-suffix = MP
imagesize = 216
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
5 May 2005
Michael Howard David Cameron
constituency_MP2 = Tatton
majority2 = 11,731 (28.3%)
7 June 2001
birth_date = Birth date and age|1971|05|23|df=yes
Paddington, London, England
nationality = British
spouse = Frances Howell
party = Conservative
Magdalen College, Oxford
occupation = Member of Parliament (MP)
religion = None (Atheist)
website = [http://www.georgeosborne.co.uk/ www.georgeosborne.co.uk]
Gideon George Oliver Osborne (born
23 May, 1971in London) is a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom, and has been the Member of Parliamentfor Tatton since 2001. He is currently Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The eldest son and heir of Sir Peter Osborne, 17th Baronet (and co-founder of the fabric and wallpapers designers,
Osborne & Little), Osborne was educated at Norland Place, St Paul's School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he received an upper second class degree in Modern History. He was also editor of the University magazine "Isis". He is married to The Hon. Frances Howell, now Frances Osborne, an author (and elder daughter of former Conservative Cabinet Minister David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford). The couple have two young children, Luke and Liberty.cite web
title = The George Osborne Supremacy
publisher = "Daily Mail"
date = 2008-09-21
url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/moslive/article-1056606/Its-wife-arranges-mortgage-admits-George-Osborne--Chancellor-waiting.html
accessdate = 2008-09-21]
Originally named Gideon, he changed his name to George when he was 13. In an interview in July 2005, Osborne said: "It was my small act of rebellion. I never liked it. When I finally told my mother she said, 'Nor do I'. So I decided to be George after my grandfather, who was a war hero. Life was easier as a George; it was a straightforward name." [cite web|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/22/ntory22.xml&site=5&page=0|title=The Telegraph]
Osborne's first job was as a data enterer for the National Health Service, inputting the names of people who had died in
Londononto a computer. He also briefly worked for Selfridges. He originally intended to pursue a career as a journalist, but, after missing out on a position at a national newspaper, was informed of a vacant job at the Conservative Central Office.
He joined the
Conservative Research Departmentin 1994 and became Head of the Political Section. Between 1995 and 1997 he was a Special Advisor at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for minister Douglas Hogg (during the BSE crisis) and worked in the Political Office at 10 Downing Street. Between 1997 and 2001 he worked for then Conservative leader William Hagueas a speech writer and Political Secretary. In this role he helped prepare Hague for the weekly session of Prime Minister's Questions, often playing the role of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Under the leaderships of Michael Howardand now under David Cameron, he has remained on the Prime Minister's Questions team.
Member of Parliament
Elected as the Member of Parliament for Tatton, Cheshire, in June 2001, he succeeded the Independent MP
Martin Bell, who had famously won it from the controversial former Conservative minister Neil Hamilton at the 1997 election. Osborne won with a majority of 8,611, becoming (at that time) the youngest Conservative MP in the House of Commons. At the 2005 election, he was re-elected with an increased majority of 11,731, 51.8% of the vote.
In September 2004, Osborne was appointed to the
Shadow Cabinetas Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Following the 2005 General Election, he was promoted to
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequerat the young age of 33 by the then-Conservative Party leader Michael Howard. His appointment to such a senior shadow cabinet post at such a young age surprised many. Howard had in fact initially offered the post to William Hague, who turned it down. Press reports suggest that Howard's second choice for the post was in fact David Cameron, who also rejected the job as he preferred to take on a major public service portfolio (he was made Shadow Education Secretary). Thus Howard turned to Osborne as his third choice for the role. [cite web
title = Hague rejects post of shadow chancellor
publisher = "
date = 2005-05-12
url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2005/may/12/conservatives.whitehall
accessdate = 2008-05-04] Cameron successfully ran for the leadership of the party later that year, with Osborne serving as his campaign manager, and Osborne kept the Shadow Chancellor's post when Cameron became leader.
Osborne has in the past been touted as a possible future leader of the Conservative Party.cite web
title = Osborne will not enter Tory race
publisher = BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation)
date = 2005-05-20
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4564605.stm
accessdate = 2007-04-22] His close friendship with David Cameron has led to comparisons with the relationship between
Tony Blairand Gordon Brownin the Labour Party in the mid-1990s. Responding to this comparison at the LSE in February 2006, Osborne said that there had been "no deal" between him and Cameron, and he has repeatedly denied ambitions beyond the Chancellorship.Fact|date=September 2008.
Osborne has expressed an interest in the ideas of "tax simplification" (including the idea of
flat tax). He set up a "Tax Reform Commission" in October 2005 to investigate ideas for how to create a 'flatter, simpler' tax system.
In June 2006 and 2007 Osborne attended the annual
Bilderberg Conference. [ cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/060919/memi21.htm |title=Register of Members' Interests - George Osborne|publisher=United Kingdom Parliament|date= 19 September 2006] [ cite web|url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem/080109/memi21.htm |title=Register of Members' Interests - George Osborne|publisher=United Kingdom Parliament|date= 15 January 2008]
Coming into the 2007 party conference season, the Conservative Party was trailing the Labour party in the polls by a substantial margin, of between 7 and 10 percentage points, depending on the polling organisation. Speculation was rife that
Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister was to call a snap election immediately after the conference season: several factors had fueled this speculation in the media, including the bringing forward of the Chancellor's budget statement in the Commons. It is widely held that the bounce in the polls that the Conservatives enjoyed in the immediate aftermath of their conference was due to two factors: the strength of David Cameron's conference closing speech and the specific economic and tax policies announced by George Osborne in his Shadow Chancellor's address [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7022498.stm] - in particular tax policies on inheritance tax and stamp duty. Many explanations have been given (including by Gordon Brown himself [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7033084.stm] ) as to why a snap election was not called, but a key factor is believed to be changes in the polls following the Conservative Party conference.
In October 2005, Jennifer Shackleton, known to Osborne as Nathalie, produced a photograph of them at her flat in 1993 and claimed that they had taken
cocainetogether. In the photograph, published by the " Sunday Mirror", the table in front of the pair holds rolled up papers and what appears to be a line of white powder, evidence of recent drug use according to Shackleton. Osborne denied the claims. [cite news |url=http://politics.guardian.co.uk/toryleader/story/0,,1593884,00.html |title=Tories close ranks in drug row |author=Tania Branigan |work= The Guardian|date= 17 October 2005|accessdate=2007-11-19] Labour MP Dennis Skinnerwas excluded from the House of Commons for claiming Osborne had taken cocainecite news |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4509994.stm |title=MP banned for Tory cocaine jibe |author= |work=BBC News |date= 8 December 2005|accessdate=2007-11-19] (coining the much used 'Boy George' nickname in the process). Osborne was running David Cameron's bid to become party leader when the allegations surfaced. During that campaign Cameron was also accused of having taken cocaine. Shackleton was quoted as saying, "Osborne and Cameron have been trying to brush their pasts under the carpet, saying whatever they did in the past is not relevant. But I think it's important they tell the truth." Osborne retorted that '"the allegations are completely untrue and dredging up a photo from when I was 22 years old is pretty desperate stuff. This is merely part of a smear campaign to divert attention from the issues that matter in this leadership contest and I am confident people will not be distracted by this rubbish." [cite news |url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=365547&in_page_id=1770 |title=Cameron campaign chief in 'cocaine' pictures |author= |work= The Daily Mail|date= 16 October 2005|accessdate=2007-11-19]
Attacks on Gordon Brown
Osborne has criticised Brown aggressively throughout his tenure as
During Osborne's response to the
Chancellor of the ExchequerGordon Brown's Pre-Budget Report on 5 December 2005(in which Brown announced the revision of his estimate for UK growth in 2005 to from 3.50% to 1.75%), Osborne attacked Brown as "a Chancellor past his sell by date, a Chancellor holding Britain back". In an interview the same week, he also referred to Brown as 'brutal' and 'unpleasant'. [cite news |url=https://registration.ft.com/registration/barrier?referer=http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=unpleasant+and+brutal+and+brown+and+osborne+&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&location=http%3A//news.ft.com/cms/s/3dbad21e-6378-11da-be11-0000779e2340.html |title=Shadow chancellor attacks ‘brutal’ Brown |author=Cathy Newman |work= Financial Times|date= 2 December 2005|accessdate=2007-11-19]
Osborne found himself rebuked by the
Speaker of the House of Commonson 26 October 2006when he attacked the Chancellor at Oral Questions to the Chancellor by citing a comment attributed to the Secretary of State for Work and PensionsJohn Hutton, describing the Chancellor as likely to make an 'effing awful' Prime Minister.cite web |url=http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm061026/debtext/61026-0001.htm#06102646000012 |title=Treasury questions |author= |work= Hansard|date= 26 October 2006: Column 1637 |accessdate=2007-11-19]
It was widely suggested that Osborne was leading an assault on Brown which will allow them to discredit him without damaging David Cameron's softer public image. [cite news |url=http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/derek_draper/2006/08/camerons_boot_boys.html |title=Cameron's boot boys |author=
Derek Draper|work= Guardian Unlimited|date= 21 August 2006|accessdate=2007-11-19] [cite news |url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article745905.ece |title=New era will begin with attack on Brown's record |author=Philip Webster |work= The Times|date= 5 December 2005|accessdate=2007-11-19] A frequent target for Osborne had been the Schools Secretary, Ed Ballswhen he was the Treasury's Economic Secretary between 1997-2004. Osborne has made a point of singling him out for his poor media skills.
During the October 2006 Conservative Party Conference Osborne was asked by a journalist at a fringe meeting if he was "faintly autistic", after recalling his propensity for remembering odd facts. Osborne responded by joking "we're not getting on to Gordon Brown yet."cite web
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5399072.stm
title = Article on George Osborne Autism Comment
publisher = BBC News] This comment drew controversy and was immediately attacked by the
National Autistic Society, a director of which stated that "any pejorative use of terms relating to autism can cause deep distress and hurt to people affected by the condition". A spokesman for Brown demanded an apology from Osborne for the comment, which has not been forthcoming. In response Osborne stated he did not intend to insult people suffering from autism, though he did add, "do I think that Chancellor Gordon Brown needs better relations with his colleagues, let alone with the opposition front bench? Most certainly." In the same meeting Osborne also said of Brown "He's the only man, apart from close members of my family, who has hung up the phone on me." This event occurred when Osborne refused to pair with Brown when he as Chancellor had to be abroad during a 90-day vote.cite web
title = Article on George Osborne in The Times 2| publisher = The Times]
Channel 4 and FactCheck
Osborne has been criticised very heavily by the popular Channel 4 News 'FactCheck' item. FactCheck gives a rating from one to five for political claims where "the lower end of the scale indicates that the claim in question largely checks out, while the upper end suggests misrepresentation, exaggeration and a massaging of statistics and/or language. In the unlikely event that we award a 5 out of 5, our FactCheckers have concluded that the claim under examination has absolutely no basis in fact." [http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/business_money/factcheck%20did%20gordon%20destroy%20our%20pensions/171020] For example, Osborne's critique of Gordon Brown's pensions tax was described as is "an absurd exaggeration" (receiving a rating of 4 out of 5) [http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/business_money/factcheck%20did%20gordon%20destroy%20our%20pensions/171020] . Osborne's claims about tax rises have also been given a 4 out of 5 rating, and criticised for not having "very much to do with the actual facts of the case. Nor does it make much of a useful commentary on what is actually happening in the economy." [http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/factcheck+has+brown+raised+stealth+tax+99+times/324047] Moreover, Channel 4 was also responsible for publishing e-mails leaked from Osborne's office. [http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/internal+emails+reveal+tory+spending+split/266808]
It was revealed in "
the Daily Mail" on 7 April 2007that whilst at Oxford, George Osborne had been a member of the Bullingdon Club, a notorious Oxford Universitydining club [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=447223&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true] . This had become a significant political issue after it was revealed that David Cameronhad been a member of the club and that it was 'infamous for "trashing" restaurants and other riotous behaviour' and 'is open only to sons of aristocratic families and the super-rich'. The Conservative Party have sought to distance themselves from the antics of the Bullingdon Club's members, particularly because it included many Conservative MPs and various photos in circulation are considered extremely damaging to the new party image. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=447223&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true] .
White House visit
Osborne visited the
White Houseon 25 April 2007as part of MalariaAwareness Day. " The Times" wrote that "George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, will meet President Bush in the White House today in a significant boost to the Conservatives’ international credibility and a thawing in their frosty relations with Washington" and that "Mr Bush wants to talk to Mr Osborne about the Conservatives’ recent announcement that they would pledge £500 million a year to help to wipe out malaria, matching a spending promise made by Washington". [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1701549.ece] However, it transpired that Osborne was one of 150 guests. No meeting was scheduled between Osborne and Bush. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/26/wosborne26.xml] The following day, the Times print edition reported that the White House had been active in quashing any claims that Osborne had met Bush. [Hugo Rifkind, People, The Times, 26 April 2007(not in online edition)] The Conservatives countered that they had never claimed there would be any such meeting, but this claim was ridiculed by the Daily Telegraph's Washington correspondent. [http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/tobyharnden/april07/torygamesinwashington.htm]
Conservative Research Department
Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet (UK)
* [http://www.georgeosborne.co.uk/ George Osborne] official site
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/person/0,9290,-6138,00.html Guardian Unlimited Politics - Ask Aristotle: George Osborne MP]
* [http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/george_osborne/tatton TheyWorkForYou.com - George Osborne MP]
* [http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=George_Osborne&mpc=Tatton The Public Whip - George Osborne MP] voting record
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/mpdb/html/570.stm - BBC Profile of George Osborne] profile 5 April, 2005
* [http://dmoz.org/Regional/Europe/United_Kingdom/Society_and_Culture/Politics/Parties/Conservative/MPs/Osborne,_George/ Open Directory Project - George Osborne] directory category
* [http://taxreformcommission.com/ Tax Reform Commission]
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