A Conservative party spokesman describes Andy Coulson's severance payments as a "private matter":
"We were not aware until last night of allegations that Andy Coulson's severance package, agreed with News International before he was employed by the Conservative party, was paid in instalments that continued into the time he was employed by the Conservative party.
"Any payments made to Andy Coulson as part of his severance package with News International would not constitute donations in kind to the party as they were linked to his previous employment with NI, not with the Conservative party.
"Severance payments are a private matter. It is not part of the HR process to discuss severance payments from previous jobs with potential employees."