Coulson paid by Murdoch while working for Tories

Steve Dinneen
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THE spotlight yesterday fell back onto David Cameron’s relationship with Andy Coulson after it emerged the former News of the World editor failed to disclose regular severance payments from News Corp while advising the Tory leader.

It is understood Coulson, who was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of being involved in phone hacking, received several hundred thousand pounds from the Murdoch empire as part of a severance package that ran in installments until the end of 2007.

While payments of this kind are not uncommon, Coulson had denied receiving any other income when he worked for the Tories during a parliamentary committee hearing in 2009.

A spokesman for the Tories said senior party officials had not known about the severance arrangements.

Labour jumped on the issue, calling for greater transparency over Cameron’s relationship with Coulson and ties to Rupert Murdoch.

Cameron has said he regrets appointing Coulson and will apologise to parliament if it emerges he lied over his knowledge of phone hacking.

Downing Street declined to comment but noted that the events occurred before Cameron became Prime Minister. A News Corp spokesman declined to comment.