Prime Minister David Cameron will have a lot to answer for after it was revealed last night that his former Communications’ chief Andy Coulson was on News of the World payroll while being employed by the Conservative party.
Coulson has remained on the News of the World payroll for several months receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds after he was appointed Director of Communications to the Conservative party in May 2007.
Coulson quit his job as an editor at the News of the World in January 2007 after the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for phone hacking.
But he continued to receive the equivalent of two years’ salary—thought to be worth at least £1.5 million.
The payments have been made over 12 months, and he also continued to receive other perks from the News of the World including private medical insurance and company car for three years since leaving the company.
Cameron has already come under fire over his judgment in selecting Coulson for the post due to the latter being an editor of the tabloid News of the World when it was involved in phone hacking.
Coulson has repeatedly denied any knowledge of phone hacking during his editorship at the recently closed tabloid.
The PM has staunchly defended the decision to hire the former editor as his Communications Director. “With 20-20 hindsight and all that has followed, I would not have offered him the job and I suspect he would not have taken it,” Cameron told the House of Commons in July with much confidence.
Queries have now been posed over Cameron’s real hindsight and whether he did all the checks before recruiting Coulson.
Tory sources however have already suggested that the party had been unaware of Coulson receiving payments from his former company following recruitment by the party.
Coulson, who quit the Downing Street post last January, was arrested over the phone-hacking scandal recently.