George Osborne has defended his decision to become editor of the London Evening Standard, saying Parliament will be "enhanced" by his appointment.

The former chancellor spoke in the House of Commons after an urgent question from Labour over whether he could take up the post at the Standard while continuing his role as MP for Tatton, Cheshire.

Andrew Gwynne, a shadow cabinet minister, suggested the decision "deeply undermines public trust in the democratic process" and does a "disservice" to those MPs who spend every hour of their day fighting for their constituents.

But Osborne, 45, who has a number of other jobs, including adviser to financial company BlackRock, defended accepting the editorship, which he is to begin in May.

He told the Commons on Monday afternoon (20 March): "In my view, Mr Speaker, this parliament is enhanced when we have people of different experience take part in our robust debate and when people who have held senior ministerial office continue to contribute to the decisions we have to make.

"But I will listen to what my colleagues have to say in this debate. I'm interested to hear."

He also joked: "When I heard that this urgent question had been granted I thought it was important to be here, although unfortunately we have missed the deadline for the Evening Standard."

It comes as the head of Britain's standards watchdog for MPs said Osborne's appointment would lead to an official review of policy of MPs holding second jobs, saying he was "uncomfortable" with the arrangement.

Lord Bew, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, told the Sunday Times: "We have not ruled out MPs having second jobs, quite deliberately, up until now, but we now have to look again at our rules.

"We are going to discuss whether our rules on second jobs need to be changed in light of this. We had something that up to a degree worked. It now seems to be getting into rockier waters."

Tory MP Cheryl Gillan said Osborne's decision will also form part of a parliamentary investigation into the Whitehall body that approves jobs for ex-ministers.

During Monday's debate in Parliament, Osborne's decision was attacked by Labour and SNP MPs.

The SNP's Roger Mullin said accepting the editorship was a "disgraceful shambles" while Labour MP Dennis Skinner asked: "How can a full-time politician be a full-time editor of a daily newspaper?"

A petition on 38 Degrees calling for Osborne to stand down as an MP or abandon the editorship of the Standard has so far been signed by more than 170,000 people.

But Osborne also received comments of support from fellow Tory MPs.

In response to criticism from a number of SNPs, Cabinet Minister Ben Gummer said there was a "tradition in this House of contributing to newspapers and elsewhere, even in the assembly in Holyrood".

Michael Gove, who is a columnist for The Times, added: "We believe in a free press and therefore that proprietors should have the right to appoint who they believe is right to be editor."

On Saturday, the owner of the Standard, Evgeny Lebedev, defended Osborne's appointment.

Lebedev, who has owned the free daily newspaper for eight years, said critics should "wait to see a paper before judging" adding that the former chancellor would provide a "more effective opposition to the Government than the current Labour party".