Andy Coulson

Both the Electoral Commission and parliamentary standards commissioner have ruled out an inquiry into Coulson over failure to declare payments

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

Andy Coulson will not be investigated by the Parliamentary standards commissioner over allegations that he failed to declare severance payments he received from News International while employed as David Cameron's director of communications.

The former News of the World editor, who resigned from the tabloid in January 2007 over the phone hacking scandal, also received health insurance and the use of a company car after he began working for the Conservative Party in June that year.

Labour MP Tom Watson asked the parliamentary standards commissioner, John Lyon, to investigate whether Coulson had broken Commons rules in not declaring the payments on a register of parliamentary pass holders.

According to the rules governing those registering for a parliamentary pass, anyone receiving more than £329 pounds within the calendar year from the same source, if the occupation will benefit in any way from the passholder's access to parliament, must declare the earnings.

A spokesperson for the parliamentary standards commissioner confirmed yesterday that it will not be investigating Coulson over the issue.

Watson also complained to the Electoral Commission, which he asked to investigate whether the payments and benefits amounted to a political donation and therefore broke electoral law in not being declared.

But the Commission ruled out an inquiry last week after deciding that the payments and benefits were not related to Coulson's work for the Conservative Party.

Coulson was hired by Cameron, who sponsored his parliamentary pass, on a reported salary of £275,000. He resigned from the News of the World following the jailing of royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire for phone hacking.

Coulson resigned from his Downing Street post in January, citing the mounting pressure of the phone hacking investigation as a distraction from his duties. He was arrested in July this year in connection with phone hacking and corruption at the tabloid. He denies any wrongdoing.

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