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The BBC's Robin Oakley:
"Lord Archer has become an embarrassment to his party"
 real 28k

Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe
"As soon as we had the allegations we acted immediately"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 23 November, 1999, 20:59 GMT
Archer 'not leaving Tories'
Lord Archer: Reports said he was leaving the party

Supporters of the disgraced Tory politician Lord Archer are denying reports that he is to resign from the party, as pressure mounts for him to leave.

Speculation is continuing over the millionaire novelist's position after his exit from the race to be London's first elected mayor.

He is under pressure from local party chiefs to resign as a Tory member, but despite the party's apparent eagerness to wash their hands of him his spokesman remains defiant.

Stephan Shakespeare said: "Jeffrey Archer is not resigning from the Conservative Party."

But his local party chairman said it would be easier for the party if the peer stepped down.

The pressure for him to leave follows revelations that he asked a friend to lie for him under oath 13 years ago.

Departure in the Tory interest

The head of the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association, John Reynolds, has suggested it is time for Lord Archer to leave.

He said: "I actually hope that Lord Archer may consider very carefully over the next few days his position, and it may make it easier for the Conservative Party, both nationally and locally, actually to resign."

Lord Archer's decision whether to leave the party he has served for decades comes hours after the man who sold secrets about the maverick politician's past claimed his motive was simply to stop him becoming mayor.

Former friend Ted Francis insisted his motivation had been to protect Londoners.

He's down and I don't want to kick him. I wish that other people would lay off him. My objective was served and I think it was the objective of hundreds of other people.
Ted Francis
Challenged on Talk Radio by a caller who branded him "scum" for selling a story about a former friend, he replied: "Would you rather know the truth about Jeffrey Archer or have him as mayor and find out to our cost?"

"This is not about revenge," he said. "Because Archer became more and more of a possible candidate ... because Dobson and Livingstone were clashing, you could see him getting in the back door."

While Mr Francis said he had no further salacious incidents to disclose, his publicist, Max Clifford, has been approached by other people offering further revelations.

Andrina Colquhoun: Named as dinner companion
Lord Archer has admitted asking Mr Francis to lie by saying he had met him for dinner on a night when a tabloid had accused him of having sex with a prostitute.

The evidence was never needed as The Daily Star changed the date it claimed the liaison had taken place and the Tory politician won 500,000 in damages from the newspaper.

Mr Francis said on Tuesday that he initially thought he had been asked to lie to cover up an affair.

Since the scandal emerged, Lord Archer's former private secretary Andrina Colquhoun has been named as his real dining companion.

Lord Archer's spokesman, Mr Shakespeare, said after the radio interview that the novelist's wife, Mary - famously described as "fragrant" by the judge in the libel case - would be remaining with her husband.

Lord Archer himself has remained locked inside his country home since the scandal erupted at the weekend.

He still faces demands by The Daily Star for the return of 3m and a police investigation.

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See also:
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer affair takes new twist
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
What Ted did for Jeffrey
22 Nov 99 |  UK
Bullseye for Clifford's arrow
22 Nov 99 |  UK
Ted Francis - Archer whistleblower
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague faces toughest test
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Paper to challenge Archer ruling
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
First test for ethics panel
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Who now for London Tories?
21 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Archer's legal dilemma
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Profile: Jeffrey Archer
21 Nov 99 |  UK
Love is: Marriage to Jeffrey

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