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The BBC's Tim Franks
"The picture painted by friends is one of a man crushed by remorse"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 24 November, 1999, 06:45 GMT
Archer 'defiant' over libel pay-out
Archer: Defying the Star and calls to quit his party

Lord Archer is reported to have decided not to return libel damages to the Daily Star.

The newspaper paid the disgraced Tory politician 500,000 in 1987, over an allegation involving him and prostitute Monica Coghlan.

But it has now given the peer until 1700GMT on Thursday to reimburse 3m damages, costs and interest to prevent its lawyers seeking to reopen the case, following revelations that he asked a friend to lie for him under oath.

Sources have told the BBC he has no plans to return the money.

Supporters of Lord Archer, who remains at his home in Grantchester, near Cambridge, have also denied reports that he is to resign from the party.

Pressure is mounting for the millionaire novelist to leave, before the outcome of a special inquiry by the party's ethics committee.

His spokesman Stephan Shakespeare bluntly rebutted the calls, saying: "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.

Departure 'in 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."

The furore comes after a former friend of Lord Archer, Ted Francis, sold secrets about the maverick politician's past.

Lord Archer has admitted asking Mr Francis to lie by saying he had met him for dinner on a night when the Daily Star accused him of having sex with a prostitute.

The evidence was never needed as the tabloid changed the date it claimed the liaison had taken place.

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See also:
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer 'not leaving Tories'
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
What Ted did for Jeffrey
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague faces toughest test
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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