NoTW editor received payments while being Tory media chief

Coulson, Tories former communications director who has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking was paid a severance package worth several hundred thousand dollars by the News International-- the company owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, the BBC said.

The former editor also had continued access to health care and as the reports broke the opposition Labour Party said, PM David Cameron faced "serious questions" over the claims.

The 43-year-old Caulson was arrested in July in the probe into the phone hacking and was released on bail until October. He edited the NoTW from 2003 to January 2007.

BBC said the severance instalments totalled the full entitlement under his two-year contract as editor of the now closed tabloid. The severance package also allowed him to keep hold of his company car, BBC reported.

Coulson was hired by the then opposition Conservative party in July 2007 for a reported salary of 275,000 pounds.

He continued to be financially linked to News International for several months of his tenure, BBC said.

Coulson resigned from his government post in January, saying pressure over phone hacking was distracting him from his role.

Labour MP Tom Watson told the BBC he would write to the Electoral Commission to see whether the News International payments complied with British laws.

"Given that Andy Coulson resigned in disgrace from the News of the World over the phone-hacking scandal, he took responsibility for what happened on his watch - his words, not mine - it seems remarkable that News International would feel obliged to give him any payments at all," he said.

"And if those payments were discretionary then I think in law they would count as a hidden donation."

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