Tuesday, August 10, 1999 Published at 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Black Tory defends Archer
Lord Archer: "Your head did not turn if a black woman passed"
Actress Patti Boulaye has defended London mayor hopeful Lord Archer following his controversial comments on the weight and dress-sense of black women.
But Ms Boulaye said that Lord Archer's remarks were "a very forward-looking statement".
The actress and former pop star added that he had been making a valid point about how the position of black people in Britain had improved.
"Anyone who finds it offensive must be backward looking," she said.
'Badly dressed and over-weight'
Lord Archer's remarks came in an interview with Spectrum Radio's Jewish programme last week, but have only now been widely publicised.
"Your head did not turn if a black woman passed because they were badly dressed, probably over-weight and probably had a lousy job.
"If you walk down London streets now there are the most staggeringly beautiful girls of every nationality. That is part of getting rid of prejudice."
'Remarks taken out of context'
Following the furore over his remarks, the millionaire novelist issued a statement saying his words had been taken "out of context".
One of the hopefuls to become Labour's candidate for the mayoral contest, Trevor Phillips, was quick to attack the Tory peer.
He described Lord Archer's as having a "bigoted and stereotyped imagination".
Other race campaigners questioned why racism appeared to be acceptable in Lord Archer's view provided it was only extended to fat, poor women.
The presenter of the show added to the controversy, by describing his guest as "patronising in the extreme".
Archer 'would make good mayor'
Ms Boulaye, whose own reported comments on race caused a row earlier this year, said Lord Archer's remarks would be appreciated by older sections of the black community.
Ms Boulaye added: "I am talking as a black woman who knows Jeffrey Archer very well and he is not a racist.
"I think he would make a very good mayor."
In March there was uproar when The Express reported that Ms Boulaye had claimed that the murderers of black teenager Stephen Lawrence were probably Labour supporters.
The singer was also alleged to have claimed that in her experience Labour voters were four times as likely to be racist as Tories.
However, Ms Boulaye said that the article did not accurately reflect her views.
UK Politics Contents
A-Z of Parliament