Not going anywhere: Osborne to stay put in both jobs

By Cassie Chambers

George Osborne will hold on to both his jobs, sources close to the prime minister confirmed today.

Despite calls for Osborne to give up one or both of his current roles, sources said Osborne will maintain both his job as chancellor and as the Conservatives' primary political strategist.

Aides to the prime minister told the Daily Mail that it was "completely absurd" to suggest that Osborne would be removed from his role in the Treasury in the autumn.

They also confirmed that Osborne will maintain his strategist role for the Conservatives, saying "it is a strength, at a time of economic crisis, to have a chancellor who regularly attends meetings at Downing Street".

Calls for Osborne to step down have been widespread, after Wednesday's grim economic figures suggested the economy had shrunk by even more than expected.

Former Tory prime minister John Major joined Labour's calls for Osborne's resignation, arguing that the chancellor was "not a political strategist". 

He said: "I think it is important the chancellor steps away from the immediate picture and tries to build a bigger one. The Treasury deserves the chancellor to be there on a full-time basis and to ensure it develops a proper economic strategy."

Conservative backbencher Nadine Dorries suggested that Osborne should instead give up his role as chancellor, tweeting: "For the sake of country and Conservative party, most trusted politician in UK, William Hague, needs to become chancellor."

Yet the prime minister is not alone in his support for Osborne. Yesterday Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the OECD, told the Today programme that Osborne should "stay the course" in the Treasury.

Publication of figures on Wednesday showing a 0.7% contraction in the economy led prominent members of all parties to revive their accusations of Osborne of being a "part-time" chancellor.