The BBC’s Robert Peston reports that a former News of the World editor at the heart of the UK’s phone hacking scandal continued to be paid by Rupert Murdoch‘s News International even while he worked for the British Prime Minister David Cameron.Peston writes that Andy Coulson, who had been resigned from News International after allegations about phone hacking of members of the royal family, was being paid in a contractual agreement until the end of 2007 as part of his severage package.
During that time Coulson was also working for British Prime Minister Cameron as his “Director of Communications”.
Senior Conservative Party officials did not know about the payments, according to Peston.
Obviously, given the controversy about Murdoch’s power over the government in the UK, the fact that an employee of Cameron was at the same time being paid by Murdoch will raise some eyebrows. Cameron’s appointment of Coulson was already controversial.
That said, it’s hard to know whether the type of severage package Coulson received was simply par for the course at this time. But there’s no doubt, this article is likely to be a worry for Cameron, who has found himself closer to the centre of scandal than he is comfortable with.