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  • Monica Coghlan, at the center of the scandal surrounding Lord Jeffrey Archer, was killed in an unrelated car crash a month before the start of the trial that would convict him of perjury and vindicate her?

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The Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare


Member of Parliament
for Louth (Lincolnshire)
In office
8 December 1969 – 10 October 1974
Preceded by Cyril Osborne
Succeeded by Michael Brotherton

Born 15 April 1940 (1940-04-15) (age 69)
London
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Mary Archer
Children William and James Archer
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford
Occupation Politician, author
Website Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer
Occupation novelist, short story writer, playwright
Writing period 1976–present
Genres Thriller, drama
Official website

Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author, actor, playwright and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married to Mary Archer, a scientist specialising in solar power.

Contents

Early life and background

Jeffrey Howard Archer was born in the City of London Maternity Hospital. He was two weeks old when his family moved to the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, where he spent most of his early life. His father, William, was sixty-four when Archer was born. He died when Archer was fifteen. In 1951, he won a scholarship to Wellington School, in Somerset (not to be confused with the public school Wellington College, which is possible from the ambiguous biography in Archer's earlier books). At this time his mother, Lola, contributed a column "Over the teacups" to the local press in Weston-super-Mare and wrote about the adventures of her son 'Tuppence'; this caused Archer to be the victim of bullying while at Wellington School.[1]

After Archer left school passing O-levels in English Literature, Art, and History, he worked in a number of jobs, including training with the army and for the police. This lasted only for a few months, but he fared better as a Physical Education teacher; first at Vicar's Hill School in Hampshire, and later at the more prestigious Dover College in Kent. As a teacher he was popular with pupils and reported by some to have had good motivational skills.

Oxford

He gained a place at Brasenose College, Oxford to study for a one-year diploma in education, though he stayed for three years, gaining an academic qualification in teaching awarded by the Oxford Department for Education. There have been claims that Archer provided false evidence of his academic qualifications, for instance the apparent citing of an American institution which was actually a bodybuilding club, in gaining admission to Oxford University.[1][2] His website is careful to omit whether he was a full undergraduate at Oxford (he was not) and drops in casual references to his Oxford 'Principal' to sustain this illusion.

While at Oxford he was successful in athletics, competing in sprinting and hurdling. He gained a blue in athletics and went on to run for England once and also competed for Great Britain once. He also made a name raising money for the then little-known charity Oxfam, obtaining the support of The Beatles in a charity fundraising drive. The band accepted his invitation to visit the senior common room of Brasenose College, where they were photographed with Archer and dons of the college, although they didn't play there. The critic Sheridan Morley, then a student at Merton, was present and recalled the occasion:

At the interval I went to the toilet, and there beside me was Ringo Starr. He asked if I knew this Jeffrey Archer bloke. I said everyone in Oxford was trying to work out who he was. Ringo said: 'He strikes me as a nice enough fella, but he's the kind of bloke who would bottle your piss and sell it.'[3]

It was during this period that he met his wife, Mary. They married in July 1966.

Early career

After leaving Oxford, he continued as a charity fundraiser, working for the National Birthday Trust, a medical charity. He also began a career in politics, serving as a Conservative councillor on the Greater London Council from 1967–1970.

One organisation Archer worked for, the United Nations Association, alleged discrepancies in his claims for expenses, and details appeared in the press in a scrambled form. Archer brought a defamation action against the former Conservative member of parliament Humphry Berkeley, chairman of the UNA, as the source of the allegations. The case was settled out of court after three years. Berkeley tried to persuade Conservative Central Office that Archer was unsuitable as a parliamentary candidate, but a selection meeting at Louth disregarded any doubts.[1]

Archer set up his own fund-raising company, Arrow Enterprises, in 1969. That same year he opened an art gallery, the Archer Gallery, in Mayfair. The gallery specialised in modern art, including pieces by the acclaimed sculptor and painter Leon Underwood. The gallery ultimately lost money, however, and Archer sold it two years later.

Member of Parliament

At 29, he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Lincolnshire constituency of Louth, holding the seat for the Conservative Party in a by-election on 4 December 1969. Archer beat Ian Gow to the selection after winning over a substantial proportion of younger members at the selection meeting. Archer's campaign colour was a dayglo orange/pink with a blue arrow; the political parties in Lincolnshire had not yet abandoned local colours, which were different from the party national colours.

Louth constituency had three key areas: Louth, Cleethorpes, and Immingham. During his time as a Member of Parliament, Archer was a regular at the Immingham Conservative Club in the most working-class part of the constituency.

In Parliament, Archer was on the left of the Conservative Party, rebelling against some of his party's policies. He urged free TV licences for the elderly and was against museum charges. Archer voted against restoring capital punishment, saying it was barbaric and obscene. In 1971, he employed David Mellor, then needing money for his bar finals, to deal with his correspondence. He tipped Mellor to reach the cabinet. In an interview Archer said "I hope we don't return to extremes. I'm what you might call centre-right but I've always disliked the right wing as much as I've disliked the left wing."[4]

In 1974, he was a casualty of a fraudulent investment scheme involving Aquablast, a Canadian company, a debacle which lost Archer his first fortune.[1] Fearing imminent bankruptcy, he stood down as an MP at the October 1974 general election. By this time the Archers were living in a large five-bedroom house in The Boltons, an exclusive street in South Kensington. As a result of the Aquablast affair, they were forced to sell the house and move into more modest accommodation for a while.

Archer remained president of Immingham Conservative Party until he withdrew from the 2000 election for Mayor of London in 1999. Archer is considered a local celebrity by people of Immingham who were around when he was their Member of Parliament (although Archer has no family or business connection with the area). His rare visits to northern Lincolnshire attract considerable local public interest.

Politics and writing

His first book, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was picked up by the literary agent Deborah Owen and published first in the US, then eventually in Britain in the Autumn of 1976. The book was an instant success and Archer avoided bankruptcy, never being legally declared bankrupt. A BBC Television adaptation of the book was broadcast in 1990, and a radio adaptation was aired on BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s. While he was a witness in the Aquablast case in Toronto in 1977, Archer was accused of taking three suits from a department store, an accusation he denied for many years. However, in the late 1990s, Archer finally acknowledged that he had indeed taken the suits, although he claimed that at the time he hadn't realised he had left the shop.[1] No charges were brought.

Kane and Abel proved to be his best-selling work, reaching number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. It was made into a television mini-series by CBS in 1985, starring Peter Strauss and Sam Neill. The following year, Granada TV screened a ten-part adaptation of another Archer bestseller, First Among Equals, which told the story of four men and their quest to become Prime Minister. Archer claims to spend considerable time writing and re-writing each book. He goes abroad to write the first draft, working in blocks of two-hours at a time, then writes anything up to seventeen further drafts. It has been suggested that his books require extensive editing by others to make them readable.[5][6]

In 1979, Archer purchased the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, a house associated with the poet Rupert Brooke. He also began to hold shepherd's pie and Krug parties for prominent people at his London apartment, which overlooks the Houses of Parliament.[1]

Archer's political career revived once he became known for his novels and as a popular speaker among the Conservative grassroots. He was made deputy chairman of the Conservative Party by Margaret Thatcher in September 1985. Norman Tebbit, party chairman, had misgivings over the appointment, as did other prominent members of the party, including William Whitelaw and Ted Heath. During his tenure as deputy chairman, Archer was responsible for a number of embarrassing gaffes, including his claim, made during a live radio interview, that many young, unemployed people were simply unwilling to find work. At the time of Archer's comment, unemployment in the UK stood at a record 3.4 million. Archer was later forced to apologise for the remark, suggesting that his words had been "taken out of context".

Another scandal arose leading to his resignation in October 1986, when The News of the World led on the story "Tory boss Archer pays vice-girl". The article claimed Archer had paid Monica Coghlan, a prostitute, £2000 through an intermediary at Victoria Station to go abroad. Unlike the Daily Star, the newspaper did not allege that Archer had slept with Coghlan.[1] Archer sued the Daily Star.

Peerage

In 1992, after having been previously rejected,[7] Archer was made a life peer as Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, of Mark in the County of Somerset by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister John Major.

In a speech at the 1993 Conservative conference, Archer urged the Home Secretary Michael Howard, to "Stand and deliver" saying: "Michael, I am sick and tired of being told by old people that they are frightened to open the door, they're frightened to go out at night, frightened to use the parks and byways where their parents and grandparents walked with freedom ... We say to you: stand and deliver!". He then attacked violent films and urged tougher prison conditions to prevent criminals from re-offending. He criticised the role of "do-gooders" and finished off the speech by denouncing the opposition party's Law and Order policies.[8]. On Question Time in February 1994, Archer stated that 18 should be the age of consent for homosexuality, as opposed to 21, which it was at the time. Archer has also consistently been an opponent of a return to capital punishment.

Controversies

Daily Star libel case

In July 1987, the libel case over the allegation that Archer had had sex with Monica Coghlan came to court. The payment to Coghlan was explained as the action of a philanthropist rather than that of a guilty man. He won the case and was awarded £500,000 damages. Archer stated he would donate the money to charity. This case would ultimately result in Archer's final exit from front-line politics some years later.

There was astonishment at the description the judge (Mr Justice Caulfield) gave of Mrs Archer[9] in his jury instructions: "Remember Mary Archer in the witness-box. Your vision of her probably will never disappear. Has she elegance? Has she fragrance? Would she have, without the strain of this trial, radiance? How would she appeal? Has she had a happy married life? Has she been able to enjoy, rather than endure, her husband Jeffrey?" The judge then went on to say of Jeffrey Archer, "Is he in need of cold, unloving, rubber-insulated sex in a seedy hotel round about quarter to one on a Tuesday morning after an evening at the Caprice?" By this time, according to the journalist Adam Raphael, Jeffrey and Mary Archer were, in fact, living largely separate lives.

The editor of the Daily Star, Lloyd Turner, was sacked six weeks after the trial by the paper's owner Lord Stevens of Ludgate.[10]

Share dealings

In January 1994, Mary Archer, then a director of Anglia Television, attended a directors' meeting at which an impending takeover of Anglia Television by MAI, which owned Meridian Broadcasting, was discussed.[11] The following day, Jeffrey Archer bought 50,000 shares in Anglia Television, acting on behalf of a friend, Broosk Saib.[10] Shortly after this, it was announced publicly that Anglia Television would be taken over by MAI. As a result the shares jumped in value, whereupon Archer sold them on behalf of his friend for a profit of £77,219.[11] The arrangements he made with the stockbrokers, meant he did not have to pay at the time of buying the shares.[10]

An inquiry was launched by the Stock Exchange into possible insider trading. The Department of Trade and Industry, headed by Michael Heseltine, announced that Archer would not be prosecuted.[11] Archer later claimed that he had been "exonerated", but the DTI inquiry had merely stated that there was insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution.

Missing Kurdish aid

In July 2001, Scotland Yard began investigating allegations that millions of pounds had disappeared from Simple Truth, a fundraising campaign run by Archer. He set up a charity with the Red Cross. He employed two Kurdish aides, Broosk Saib and Nadhim Zahawi, whom he nicknamed "Lemon Kurd and Bean Kurd."[7]

In May 1991, Archer organised a charity pop concert in aid of the Kurds of Iraq, starring Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Sting and Gloria Estefan, who all performed for free. On 19 June 1991, Archer held up a cheque for £57,042,000, around £3 million came from the Simple Truth concert and appeal, £10m from the UK government, and the remaining £43 million from overseas governments' aid projects, with significant amounts pledged before the concert. The campaign led John Major to recommend Archer for his peerage.[7]

In 1992, the Kurdish Disaster Fund wrote to Archer, complaining: "You must be concerned that the Kurdish refugees have seen hardly any of the huge sums raised in the west in their name," Kurdish groups claimed little more than £250,000 had been received by groups in Iraq. Former Conservative Party vice chairman Lady Nicholson said "practically nothing" of the £57 million Archer said he collected had reached the Kurdish people.[12] Archer then went to Iraq on a fact-finding mission, where his chant of "Long Live Kurdistan" was unfortunately mis-translated as "Bastard, Devilish Kurdistan."[7]

A British Red Cross-commissioned KPMG audit of the cash showed no donations were handled by Archer and any misappropriation was "unlikely". But KPMG could find no evidence to support Archer's claims to have raised £31.5 million from overseas governments. The police said they would launch a "preliminary assessment of the facts" from the audit but were not investigating the Simple Truth fund.[13]

Perjury and downfall

Archer had been selected by the Conservative Party as candidate for the London mayoral election of 2000. He was forced to withdraw when it was revealed that he was facing a charge of perjury.[14 ]

In November 1999, Ted Francis, a friend (who claimed Archer owed him money) and Archer's former personal assistant Angela Peppiatt claimed he had fabricated an alibi in the 1987 trial. They were concerned that Archer was standing as Mayor of London and doubted that he was suitable. Peppiatt had kept a diary of Archer's movements, which contradicted evidence given during the 1987 trial. This formed the basis of the case against Archer.[15]

The News of the World published the allegations on 21 November 1999 and Archer withdrew his candidacy the following day. Conservative leader William Hague said "This is the end of politics for Jeffrey Archer. I will not tolerate such behaviour in my party".[16] On 8 October, he had described Archer as a candidate of "probity and integrity. I'm going to back him all the way" at the Conservative party conference.

On 4 February 2000, Archer was expelled from the Conservative Party for five years. On 26 September 2000, he was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice during the 1987 libel trial.[14 ]

A few months before the beginning of the perjury trial, Archer began in the star role in a courtroom play (which he also wrote) called The Accused. The play was staged at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket and concerned the court trial of an alleged murderer from beginning to end. The play used the technique of assigning the role of jury in the trial to the audience, theatre-goers voting on whether Archer's character was guilty at the end of each performance. Archer would attend his real trial during the day and be judged in his fictional trial in the evening.[17]

The real trial began on 30 May 2001, a month after Monica Coghlan's death. On 19 July 2001, Archer was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice at the 1987 trial. He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment by Mr Justice Potts. Archer never spoke during the trial, though his wife Mary again gave evidence as she had done during the 1987 trial. Ted Francis was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice. Archer's mother died on 11 July 2001 aged 87, and he was released for the day on 21 July to attend the funeral.[18]

Archer was sent to Belmarsh Prison, but was moved to the category "C" Wayland Prison in Norfolk on 9 August 2001. Despite automatically qualifying as a category "D" prisoner given it was a first conviction and he did not pose serious risk of harm to the public, his status as such was suspended pending a police investigation into Baroness Emma Nicholson's allegations that he had kept funds meant for the Simple Truth campaign. He was finally transferred to HMP North Sea Camp, an open prison in October 2001. From there he was let out to work at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln, England, and was allowed occasional home visits. Reports in the media claimed he had been abusing this privilege by attending lunches with friends, including former Education Secretary Gillian Shephard and in September 2002 he was transferred to Lincoln Prison for a month. While in prison, he wrote the three-volume memoir A Prison Diary. During his time in prison, he was visited by a number of high-profile friends, including the actor Donald Sinden[19] and the performer Barry Humphries.[20][21]

In October 2002, Archer repaid the Daily Star the £500,000 damages he had received in 1987, as well as legal costs and interest of £1.3 million.[22] That month, he was suspended from Marylebone Cricket Club for seven years.[23]

On 21 July 2003, he was released on licence, after serving half of his sentence, from HMP Hollesley Bay, Suffolk.[24]

Many of Archer's friends remained loyal. He and Lady Archer were guests at the memorial service for Norris McWhirter at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields on Thursday 7 October 2004 where they sat in the same pew as former head of the Conservative Monday Club, Gregory Lauder-Frost, and in front of Lady Thatcher, who embraced Lady Archer.

On 26 February 2006, on Andrew Marr's Sunday AM programme, Archer said he had no interest in returning to front-line politics: he would pursue his writing instead.[25] He has confirmed this when speaking at the Emmanuel College Politics Society and the Christ's Politics Society at the University of Cambridge.

Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt

In 2004, the Equatorial Guinea government alleged that Archer was one of the financiers of the failed 2004 coup d'état attempt against them, citing bank details and telephone records as evidence.[26]

Archer in fiction

Archer was satirically portrayed as a misunderstood secret agent, saviour of Britain and mankind and "overall thoroughly good chap", by actor Damian Lewis in the BBC drama Jeffrey Archer: The Truth (2002),[27] which received strong reviews. Script writer Guy Jenkin explained that "my Jeffrey Archer is the man who has frequently saved Britain over the last 30 years. He's beloved of all women he comes across, all men, all dogs – he's a superhero".

In There's No Place Like a Home, a comedy play by Paul Elliot, the residents of a retirement home for actors and actresses, trying to prevent its closure, kidnap Archer to use the ransom money to keep their home open.

The satirical magazine Private Eye refers to Archer as 'Jeffrey Archole' or 'Lord Archole' and characterises him as a liar and fantasist. On occasion it has published spoofs of Archer's fiction, describing a thinly-veiled heroic version of himself called 'Jeremy Bowman'.

Archer portrayed himself in a brief portion of Bridget Jones's Diary. The joke was that Bridget always says the wrong thing and was introducing "The greatest book of our time" and then spots several famous (and better according to the joke) authors in the crowd, one of which is Lord Archer.

List of works

Kane and Abel series

Prison diaries

Other novels

The Clifton Chronicles

  • Novel 1 (2011)
  • Novel 2 (2012)
  • Novel 3 (2013)
  • Novel 4 (2014)
  • Novel 5 (2015)

Plays

  • Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1987)
  • Exclusive (1989)
  • The Accused (2000)

Short stories/Collections

For children

  • By Royal Appointment (1980)
  • Willy Visits the Square World (1980)
  • Willy and the Killer Kipper (1981)
  • The First Miracle (1994)

Further reading

  • Raphael, Adam (1989). My Learned Friends: an Insider's View of the Jeffrey Archer Case and Other Notorious Actions. ISBN 9781852270940.  
  • Crick, Michael. Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction. ISBN 0-241-13360-2.  

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Caroline Davies (20 July 2001). "He lied his way to the top". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1334660/He-lied-his-way-to-the-top.html.  
  2. ^ Jim Waley (22 July 2001). "Author of his own Demise". ninemsn. http://sgp1.paddington.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/feature_stories/article_890.asp?s=1.  
  3. ^ Paul Kelso (20 July 2001). "Mendacious, ambitious, generous and naive". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/jul/20/conservatives.archer11.  
  4. ^ "Lord Archer answers your questions". BBC News. 1999-02-01. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/269876.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-14.  
  5. ^ Paul Kelso "Mendacious, ambitious, generous and naive", The Guardian, 20 July 2001. Retrieved on 9 May 2007.
  6. ^ "The Fall of Jeffrey Archer: The Man and the Myths: His was a life...", The Independent by Chris Blackhurst. 20 July 2007 [page 2. Retrieved on 9 May 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d "Archer fraud allegations: the simple truth". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/archer/article/0,,537932,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-18.  
  8. ^ The Times newspaper – Thursday 7 October 1993
  9. ^ "Archer marriage under spotlight". BBC. 2001-06-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1388341.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-01.  
  10. ^ a b c "Star demands £2.2m from Archer". BBC News. 19 July 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1447018.stm.  
  11. ^ a b c "Archer's share deal under scrutiny again". The Guardian. 30 October 1999. http://www.guardian.co.uk/mayor/Story/0,,194773,00.html.  
  12. ^ "Archer faces 'missing aid' probe". BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1451998.stm. Retrieved 2007-12-18.  
  13. ^ "http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article145624.ece". Independent. http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article145624.ece. Retrieved 2007-12-18.  
  14. ^ a b "Timeline: Stranger than fiction". BBC. 8 October 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1420132.stm.  
  15. ^ "Ted Francis: Archer whistleblower". BBC. 19 July 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1420933.stm.  
  16. ^ "Disgraced Archer jettisoned by Tories". The Guardian Unlimited. 23 November 1999. http://www.guardian.co.uk/archer/article/0,,195732,00.html.  
  17. ^ "Review – The Accused". Curtain Up. 8 October 2002. http://www.curtainup.com/accused.html.  
  18. ^ "Archer jailed for perjury". BBC. 19 July 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1424501.stm.  
  19. ^ "New celeb jail visitor for Archer". Sunday Mirror. 16 Feb 2003. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20030216/ai_n12861033/.  
  20. ^ "How We Met: Barry Humprhies & Jeffrey Archer". Independent. 6 April 2008. http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/sunday-review/regulars/how-we-met-barry-humprhies--jeffrey-archer-804282.html.  
  21. ^ "So that's what he was up to when he wasn't out for lunch". Independent. 6 October 2002. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1424501.stm.  
  22. ^ "Archer settles £1.8m libel debt with newspaper". Telegraph. 2 October 2002. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1408852/Archer-settles-1.8m-libel-debt-with-newspaper.html.  
  23. ^ "MCC gives Archer out – for seven years". Guardian. 28 October 2002. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/oct/28/cricket.archer.  
  24. ^ "Lord Archer freed from prison". BBC. 22 September 2003. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3082627.stm.  
  25. ^ "Archer 'may vote in Lords again'". BBC. 26 February 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4752758.stm.  
  26. ^ "New Archer link to coup plot alleged". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/equatorialguinea/story/0,,1326040,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-22.  
  27. ^ "Jeffrey Archer: The Truth – BBC Drama". BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/archer/. Retrieved 2007-12-01.  

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Cyril Osborne
Member of Parliament for Louth
1969Oct 1974
Succeeded by
Michael Brotherton

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is a British best-selling author and former politician.

Sourced

  • I'm what you might call centre-right but I've always disliked the right wing as much as I've disliked the left wing.
    • Comment about his own political ideology. From a Question and Answer interview on BBC New Online. (February 1, 1999) Url accessed on December 12, 2008.

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born May 15, 1940) is a British author and politician. He was a member of Parliament, Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and since 1992 is a life peer. His political career ended after an indictment for perjury. He is married to Mary Archer, a prominent scientist in solar power.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Jeffrey Howard Archer was born in the City of London Maternity Hospital. When he was two weeks old he and his family moved to the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, where he spent most of his young life. At Oxford he was successful in athletics, competing in sprinting and hurdling. He also made a name for himself in raising money for the then little-known charity Oxfam, famously managing to obtain the support of The Beatles in a charity fundraising drive. The band accepted his invitation to visit the Senior Common Room of his Brasenose College, where they were photographed with Archer and dons of the college, although they did not play there. It was during this period that he met his future wife, Mary. His parents were John and Mary Archer who gave birth to him in 1940. Jeffery Archer only had one sibling and that was his brother, Thomas Archer who is a renowned politician for the conservative party.

At the age of 29, he was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for a Lincolnshire constituency, holding the seat for the Conservative Party in a by-election on 4 December 1969.

In Parliament, Archer was on the left of the Conservative Party, rebelling against some of his party's policies. He urged free TV licences for the elderly and was against museum charges. Archer voted against restoring the death penalty saying it was barbaric and obscene.

Archer had to resign because of a scandal in October 1986 when the Sunday newspaper The News of the World led on the story "Tory boss Archer pays vice-girl". The article claimed that Archer had paid Monica Coghlan, a prostitute, £2000 through another person at Waterloo Station to go abroad. Unlike the Daily Star, the newspaper did not allege that Archer had actually slept with Coghlan.[1] Archer sued the Daily Star.

Perjury and downfall

Archer had been selected by the Conservative Party as their candidate for the London mayoral election of 2000. He was forced to withdraw from the race when it was revealed that he was facing a charge of perjury.

On 4 February, 2000 Archer was expelled from the Conservative Party for five years. On 26 September, 2000 he was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice (i.e., obstruction of justice) during the 1987 libel trial.

A few months before the beginning of the perjury trial, Archer began performing in the star role in a courtroom play (which he also wrote) called The Accused. The play was staged at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket and concerns the court trial of an alleged murderer from beginning to end. The play used the innovation of assigning the role of jury in the trial to the audience, with theatre-goers voting on whether Archer's character was innocent or guilty at the end of each night's performance. Archer would attend his real trial during the day and be judged in his fictional trial at the theatre in the evening.

The real life trial began on 30 May, 2001. On 19 July, 2001 Lord Archer was found guilty of perjury. He was sentenced to a total of four years' imprisonment by Mr. Justice Potts. The most ironic aspect of his trial was that he had fabricated the alibi for the wrong date. Archer never spoke during the trial. Ted Francis was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

On 21 July, 2003 he was released on licence, after serving half of his sentence, from HMP Hollesley Bay, Suffolk.

Many of Lord Archer's friends remained loyal to him.

Archer has also been sued for a libel case of £8m that he lost after false accusations in his book twist of tales, portraying Major General James Oluleye to be a thief. Oluleye was a man who left a legacy of honesty and integrity for the future generations of Nigerians, See his book "Archetecturing a Destiny" and "Military Leadership in Nigeria".

Bibliography

  • 1975 - In the Lap of the Gods
  • 1976 - Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
  • 1977 - Shall We Tell the President?
  • 1979 - Kane and Abel
  • 1980 - Willy visits the Square World
  • 1980 - A Quiver Full of Arrows (Short story collection)
  • 1982 - The Prodigal Daughter
  • 1984 - First Among Equals
  • 1986 - A Matter of Honour
  • 1988 - A Twist in the Tale (Short story collection)
  • 1991 - As the Crow Flies
  • 1993 - Honour Among Thieves
  • 1994 - Twelve Red Herrings (Short story collection)
  • 1996 - The Fourth Estate
  • 1998 - The Eleventh Commandment
  • 2000 - To Cut A Long Story Short (Short story collection)
  • 2002 - Sons of Fortune
  • 2002 - A Prison Diary
  • 2003 - A Prison Diary Volume 2
  • 2004 - A Prison Diary Volume 3
  • 2006 - False Impression
  • 2006 - Cat O'Nine Tales (Short story collection)
  • 2007 - The Gospel According to Judas (with Francis J. Moloney)

References

  1. Caroline Davies "He lied his way to the top", Daily Telegraph. 20 July 2001 [website p8]. Retrieved on 20 April 2007.

Further reading

Other websites

Preceded by
Sir Cyril Osborne
Member of Parliament for Louth
1969–1974
Succeeded by
Michael Brotherton







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