By Ray Fleming

WHEN will it stop? This drip, drip of revelation about former News of the World editor Andy Coulson's employment as communications adviser to the Leader of the Opposition and subsequently to the Prime Minister? As with many earlier statements by Rupert Murdoch's News International and its senior staff it is difficult to get a clear, unambiguous picture of what may have happened but in the most recent case which emerged on Monday it seems fairly clear that Mr Coulson was receiving substantial money and benefits from News International while also being paid for his official duties, initially by the Conservative Party and probably later by the government.

Perhaps there are explanations of this rather unusual dual funding arrangement but the problem once more is of getting to the core truth. The Guardian newspaper yesterday said that it was given a categorical assurance by a senior Conservative Party official that “Andy Coulson's only salary, his only form of income, came from the party during the years he worked for the party and the govenrment.” On one occasion Mr Coulson himself told a parliamentary committee that he had “no secondary income”. When Rebekah Brooks was asked if Coulson's government salary had been subsidised by News International she said “That's not true.” The principal victim in all this , of course, is David Cameron whose judgement is increasingly open to question.


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