Andy Coulson, formerly editor of the tabloid News of the World, and later David Cameron's director of communications, speaks on a mobile phone in London on April 13, 2010. London police arrested Andy Coulson on July 8 in relation to Britain's tabloid phone-hacking scandal.
Britain's phone hacking scandal took another sharp turn today, after the BBC reported that a former editor at News of the World received payment from News International, even after he took a job as the Prime Minister's top press aide.
The BBC reports:
These payments were part of his severance package, under what is known as a "compromise agreement".
According to sources, [Andy] Coulson's contractual leaving pay was given to him in instalments until the end of 2007 — which means he continued to be financially linked to News International for several months of his tenure as David Cameron's main media adviser.
The disclosure that Mr Coulson maintained a financial relationship with News International after moving into a sensitive role in the Tory Party will be controversial.
Already, reports Bloomberg, members of the Labour party have asked Cameron to explain whether he knew about the payments.
The Guardian reports that one lawmaker on the Commons culture committee asked Britain's Electoral Commission to look into whether the Conservative party broke the law in not disclosing what could have amounted to a political donation.
The Guardian adds:
MPs on the committee are also angry because the reports appear to contradict evidence given to it by Coulson himself. The former News of the World editor, who worked as David Cameron's communications chief from July 2007 until January this year, is expected to face further questioning from the committee about the payments.
The BBC reported that the payments amounted to "several hundred thousand pounds."