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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Lord Archer jailed for lying
Lord Archer arrives at the Old Bailey
Lord Archer has been one of the most colourful characters in British politics. But when an Old Bailey jury found him guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice his career seemed to be in tatters. As he begins a four year prison sentence questions are being asked about how the flamboyant peer managed to survive so long before his lies caught up with him. BBC News Online looks at his extraordinary career and his dramatic fall from grace


July 26 2001

Mary stands by her man


Lady Archer has said she'll support her husband 'wholeheartedly'. Speaking in public for the first time since Lord Archer was jailed a week ago for perjury and perverting the course of justice, she said it was 'terrific' to get back to work. The BBC's Duncan Kennedy reports

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July 25 2001

Funds under scrutiny

Lord Archer in his London apartment
Lord Archer in his London apartment
Scotland Yard is investigating allegations that millions of pounds raised by Lord Archer have disappeared from a fundraising campaign for Kurdish refugees in Iraq. The Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Nicholson claims that "practically nothing" of the money raised reached the Kurdish people. The BBC's Emma Simpson reports

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Guilty verdict

The scales of justice above the Old Bailey
The jury took 20 hours to reach its majority verdict
There was a cheer from the public gallery as the jury delivered its guilty verdicts. Lord Archer sat impassively in the dock and his wife Mary stared at the floor. The BBC's Ben McCarthy has been in court for 28 days and has followed the case since the beginning.

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Complex background

Daily Star front page from 1985
The Daily Star paid Archer 500,000 damages

The charges stemmed from a newspaper investigation into the 1987 libel trial which Lord Archer won. Crucial evidence revealed that he had lied under oath. Duncan Kennedy looks back at the story behind the case.

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Out for revenge

Daily Star editor Peter Hill
Daily Star editor Peter Hill

The Daily Star paid Lord Archer 500,000 libel damages in 1987. After the case the current editor Peter Hill said it had submitted a claim for re-imbursement and costs with interest totalling 2.2m

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Francis acquitted

Ted Francis on Breakfast With Frost
Ted Francis helped the News of the World trap Archer

The case was brought after Archer's former friend Ted Francis decided to tell his story. He was acquitted of perjury after saying the false alibi he gave was to protect the marriage. He spoke to the BBC's Peter Sissons.

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Satisfactory outcome

Michael Crick
Archer's nemesis: Michael Crick

Lord Archer's biographer Michael Crick has investigated the millionaire's wrongdoings for several years. He warned William Hague that Archer was untrustworthy. He gave his reaction after the trial ended.

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Career ruined

Lord Archer in the House of Lords
Lord Archer in the House of Lords in 1999

Lord Archer's career in politics went from MP, to minister, to deputy party leader before he entered the House of Lords. William Hague made him the Conservative candidate for mayor of London despite warnings that he was untrustworthy. David Shukman reports.

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A humiliating experience

Former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken
Former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken

Former Conservative minister Jonathan Aitken served seven months in prison in 1999 for perjury after a high profile Old Bailey trial. He said Jeffrey Archer's heart "would be in his boots" as he arrived at Belmarsh high security jail in South London.

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Important women

Mary Archer at the Old Bailey
Mary Archer has stood by her man

Three women played key roles in the case. His secretary Angela Peppiat who gave lengthy evidence, Andrina Colqhoun; with whom he had an affair - and his wife Mary who remained loyal throughout. Nicholas Witchell reports.

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A life of lies

Panorama's full length enquiry
Panorama's full length enquiry

On the day the Archer trial finished, Panorama had all the latest twists and turns of Lord Archer's exciting life story. Reporter Michael Crick is Lord Archer's foremost chronicler. He has written an unauthorised biography of the politician and novelist, now in its third edition.

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Background

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Panorama coverage

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