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The BBC's Elaine Parke
"There are increasing calls for his peerage to be revoked"
 real 56k

Peter Hill, Daily Star editor
"The fact of the matter is we told the truth about Jeffrey Archer"
 real 56k

Former Conservative MP David Mellor
"A lot of us came to regard Jeffrey Archer as an unstable character"
 real 28k

Discussing the issues:
Sir Nicholas Lyall, former Conservative MP and Andrew McKinley, Labour backbencher
 real 28k

Sunday, 22 July, 2001, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Cook indicates peer rule change
Robin Cook
Mr Cook appeared on Breakfast with Frost
Leader of the Commons, Robin Cook, has confirmed that the government is planning a change in the law which could lead to Lord Archer losing his peerage.

He said he wants to end the anomaly whereby convicted criminals are barred from the Commons, but not the Lords.

But Mr Cook stressed the move would be part of a Lords reform, and not aimed specifically at Archer following his conviction for perjury by an Old Bailey jury last week.


The only person who would be flattered by that would be Lord Archer's great ego

Robin Cook
Mr Cook told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost: "If you ask me 'am I going to bring Lord Archer - The Bill to the House of Commons?' the answer is 'no'.

"The only person who would be flattered by that would be Lord Archer's great ego.

"But we will, some time while he is in prison, be bringing forward reform of the House of Lords and part of that reform should make sure that people disqualified from the Commons are also disqualified from the Lords."

Downing Street had already hinted that parliamentary rules could be changed in the wake of Archer's jail sentence.

An Old Bailey jury convicted Archer of two counts of perjury and two counts of perverting the course of justice on Thursday.

A number of MPs had complained that - under current arrangements - Lord Archer would be allowed to return to the Upper House, as soon as he was released from jail.

Tory leadership contender Iain Duncan Smith also said on Sunday that he believed convicted criminals should have no part in the legislature and should be barred from the Lords.

The last time a peer lost his title was in 1917 when the Titles Deprivation Act was applied to four people on grounds of treason.

Convicted

Archer, who had sat in the House of Lords for the Conservatives, was expelled from the party in 1999 when the allegations that led to him being convicted last week first emerged.

He remained in the Lords as an independent.
Lord Archer
Lord Archer could be stripped of his peerage

The Old Bailey jury found that he had lied and cheated in his 1987 libel case against the Daily Star, which had printed a story claiming he had slept with a prostitute.

The newspaper, which had to pay 500,000 in damages at the time, has issued proceedings to get its money back plus interest - a total of 2.2m.

The News of the World newspaper will also be seeking about 300,000 from Archer for an out-of-court settlement and costs paid over the prostitute claims.

Archer, who was ordered to pay 175,000 costs within 12 months, was told by the judge he would have to serve at least half of his sentence.

The novelist's solicitor, Tony Morton-Hooper, has said his client planned to appeal.

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