GEORGE Osborne is to step down as an MP to focus on his new role as editor of the London Evening Standard.

In a letter to his constituents in Tatton in Cheshire, the former chancellor said he was "very excited" about the prospect of editing the paper.

However, he hinted at a possible future political comeback, saying he was leaving Parliament "for now".

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In his letter, published in the Standard, Osborne said he intended to continue to take an active role in debating the future of the UK.

"I am stepping down from the House of Commons - for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country's future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse," he said.

"I want a Britain that is free, open, diverse and works with other nations to defend our democratic values in the world.

"I will go on fighting for that Britain I love from the editor's chair of a great newspaper. It's still too early to be writing my memoirs."

Osborne had faced intense criticism for taking on the demanding role of editing a London newspaper while remaining MP for a northern constituency.

Since he was sacked as chancellor by Theresa May last year, Osborne has declared almost £1 million in speaking fees in the Register of Members' Interests.

In addition he is set to earn £650,000 a year working one day-a-week as an adviser to the US investment giant Blackrock while receiving £120,000 as a fellow at the McCain Institute in Washington DC.

His departure from Parliament comes after May made clear there would be no early return to frontline politics following his prominent role in the unsuccessful Leave campaign in which he was accused of exaggerating the dangers of Brexit to the economy.

In his letter, Osborne said he was now looking forward to taking on "new challenges".

"At the age of 45, I don't want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-chancellor," he wrote.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard.

"I've met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious."