Disgraced minister's partner recruited to the Murdoch PR team

News International has taken on a former speechwriter for Paddy Ashdown and press secretary to Charles Kennedy in a fresh bid to cope with the deluge of global media coverage that has engulfed the company over the phone-hacking scandal.

Jamie Lundie, who spent seven years working in the Liberal Democrat leader's office, found himself at the centre of his own media storm last year when The Daily Telegraph revealed that his partner, David Laws, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was claiming expenses for living in Mr Lundie's flat. The furore cost Mr Laws his job.

News International has hired the public relations firm Edelman, for whom Mr Lundie works as an account director, to help manage the negative publicity that Rupert Murdoch's company has faced. Edelman bases its reputation on specialising in ethical PR.