In accordance with Resolutions made by the House of Commons on 17 December 1985 and 28 June 1993, holders of photo-identity passes as Members’ secretaries or research assistants are in essence required to register:
· Any occupation or employment for which they receive over £329 from the same source in the course of a calendar year, if that occupation or employment is in any way advantaged by the privileged access to Parliament afforded by their pass.
· Any gift (eg: jewellery) or benefit (eg: hospitality, services or facilities) they receive in the course of a calendar year, if the value of the gift or benefit exceeds £329 and if it in any way relates to or arises from their work in Parliament.
If Andy Coulson did receive a remuneration package from News international after leaving the company, this could be perceived as influencing his behaviour/conduct as a privileged Commons passholder. It should have been declared in the Register of Members’ Secretaries and Research Assistants
I’ve spoken to four former News of the World journalists in the last week. To say they are not happy with the senior management of News International is an understatement. Here is a an email I received from one of them. Needless to say he wishes to remain anonymous for fear of ‘retribution’. I’m familiar with that feeling so I’ll respect his wishes. I’ve slightly amended the words in one sentence in order to avoid potential contempt of court/libel allegations.
I am a News of the World journalist and, in view of today’s revelations about payments to Andy Coulson, feel compelled by ever-increasing rage to draw your attention to the fact that, even while News International is under intense scrutiny for its illegal activities, the company is playing fast and loose with employment law to avoid paying fair severance to many, many innocent people; people like me who had no knowledge of hacking but who can wave goodbye to their careers because of it. In brief, News International is using ’employment status’ to dodge paying everyone the four weeks contractual severance. For some this means losing almost half their entitlement and for others it means being cast adrift without a penny. These are people who played a major part in the production of the paper, people who held titles for years and worked exclusively for the News of the World. It is sickening that the people who are suffering most because of the behaviour of others are being treated so shabbily! Andy Coulson left with hundreds of thousands of pounds, a free car and private health care. The people who turned up to work hellish hours to produce his paper, in ignorance of how the content was gathered, get nothing. You have to ask, where’s the justice?”
No doubt the staff association at News International will be doing as good a job at representing their members as the NUJ would in these circumstances.