Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepgaelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Politics 
People in Parliament 
A-Z of Parliament 
Political Links 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Graham Satchell
"Daily Star is demanding their money back with interest"
 real 28k

Editor of The Daily Star, Peter Hill
"Legal action is inevitable"
 real 28k

Max Clifford, Publicist
"You have to wait until tomorrow"
 real 28k

Mark Stephens from law firm Stephen Innocent
"Any prosecution would stand a low chance of success"
 real 28k

Monday, 22 November, 1999, 12:16 GMT
Repay money, newspaper tells Archer
Lord Archer: Could be prosecuted

Lord Archer is facing a police investigation and demands for the return of 3m as publicist Max Clifford promises more revelations about the former Tory mayor candidate.

Conservative leader William Hague said on Monday that the party now had a chance to put forward a "real and credible alternative" to the eventual Labour mayor candidate.

Party chairman Michael Ancram insisted Lord Archer's resignation showed the party's determination to tackle sleaze. He boasted that Mr Hague had acted promptly to force the peer to quit the London mayor race.

It is a terrible indictment of Mr Hague. If he had acted at the beginning and summoned Archer for the grilling his past conduct deserves, this need never have happened.
Michael Crick, unauthorised biographer of Lord Archer
But the embarrassment for the Tory leader is far from over, with new episodes from Lord Archer's past expected to emerge in days.

As the search for a new Tory candidate for London mayor begins, Lord Archer faces possible court proceedings and demands from the Daily Star for the return of libel damages and court costs.

The peer admitted on Saturday he had asked a friend to lie for him before a libel trial. Although the evidence was not needed in court, charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice or perjury could be brought.

The Tories' troubles are not eased by the absence of an obvious heavy-hitting candidate to take over as its mayor candidate.

Possible contenders
Steven Norris
John Major
Archie Norman
Sebastian Coe
Runner-up in the past selection, former transport minister Steven Norris, is yet to state whether he will stand again after the party decided to start again.

Other names being mooted but not confirmed include former Prime Minister John Major, Olympic medal winner turned Tory MP Sebastian Coe and the millionaire businessman and shadow minister Archie Norman.

Mr Ancram said he hoped new candidates would emerge in coming weeks and claimed the episode showed the party had a system in place to tackle damaging allegations.

"Whereas in the past sleaze ran on and one, now we have a system for dealing with it."

Max Clifford: The man behind the scandal, again
But Mr Clifford suggested the Lord Archer scandal may have just begun. The peer's former friend, Ted Francis, who sold his story of providing a false alibi to The News of the World, would make a further statement on Tuesday, he said.

Two other past associates of Lord Archer has also approached the PR supremo to reveal their stories.

"All I know is it's if you like more or the same - people who have known Jeffrey Archer for a long time who have known things about him that will come out," Mr Clifford said.

'We want 3m back' - Star

While Mr Francis gained only 19,000 from selling his story, his actions have led to demands by the Daily Star for 500,000 in damages and 700,000 in court costs plus interest from Lord Archer. The tabloid's editor, Peter Hill, put the total at 3m.

Lord Archer asked Mr Francis to say he had dined with him at a Chelsea restaurant on 9 September 1986 ahead of his libel case against the Daily Star, which had accused him of having sex with prostitute Monica Coghlan. He denied the allegations and won 500,000.

The Daily Star originally claimed the alleged meeting with Ms Coghlan was 9 September 1986, but changed the date to 8 September in court, meaning Mr Francis was never needed as a witness.

Lord Archer insisted he was in the restaurant that night and said he was simply trying to protect the person he was with, his then personal assistant Andrina Colquhoun.

While legal experts said they did not expect Lord Archer to follow former Tory MP Jonathan Aitken to jail, Mr Hill said he believed that some form of legal action was inevitable.

"I would say he was at the very least guilty of an act that would be likely to pervert the course of justice ... in persuading his friend to tell lies for him," he said.

"When you go to court you expect that all the evidence will be heard and you expect the truth will be told. But in fact, all the evidence was not heard, because if the jury had known that Jeffrey Archer had persuaded his friend to lie for him, they wouldn't have been prepared to believe the rest of the things that he said.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
21 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Archer's legal dilemma
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Who now for London Tories?
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague left fuming as Archer falls
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Profile: Jeffrey Archer
21 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague under pressure over Archer
21 Nov 99 |  UK
Love is: Marriage to Jeffrey
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer statement in full
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
A mayor for the millennium

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.