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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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Coulson paid by NotW while working for Prime Minister

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Allegations that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson received two years’ contractual pay from News International while working as the Prime Minister’s communications chief have led to calls for a probe of Conservative election funding.

Coulson resigned from the editorship of News of the World in 2007 after the Sunday tabloid’s royal correspondent Clive Goodman and private detective Glen Mulcaire were jailed for phone hacking. He took up the £275,000 per annum post of director of communications for the Conservative Party in July 2007.
 
But the BBC’s business editor Robert Peston has now claimed that Coulson received a pay-off of hundreds of thousands of pounds from News International as part of his severance package, under what is known as a ‘compromise agreement’.
 
The package included two year’s salary and Coulson was also allowed to keep other benefits such as private healthcare for three years and his company car, Peston said.
 
BBC sources intimated that Coulson's contractual leaving pay was assigned in various instalments until the end of 2007. This would imply that he continued to be linked financially to his former employer for a number of months while also working as David Cameron’s key media advisor.
 
According to the Independent, the revelations have led Labour MP Tom Watson, who has played a lead role in uncovering the NotW telephone hacking scandal, to call on the Electoral Commission to investigate whether Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire was covertly funding the Tory Party while Cameron was leader of the opposition.
 
Watson said last night: “Did anyone at the Conservative Party know about these payments to Andy Coulson? If these were discretionary payments, they must surely constitute an undeclared donation to the Conservative Party. I will be asking the Electoral Commission to investigate.”
 
News International refused to comment.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett
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