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The BBC's John Sergeant
"The Conservative embarrassment is profound"
 real 28k

Editor of The Daily Star, Peter Hill
"Legal action is inevitable"
 real 28k

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Daily Star's front page says we want our money back with interest"
 real 28k

Max Clifford, Publicist
"You have to wait until tomorrow"
 real 28k

Mark Stephens from law firm Stephen Innocent
"Any prosecution would stand a low chance of success"
 real 28k

Conservative Party Chairman Michael Ancram
"I feel let down"
 real 28k

Monday, 22 November, 1999, 18:11 GMT
Tories punish Archer
Lord Archer: Could be prosecuted

The Conservatives have thrown Lord Archer out of the parliamentary party as he faces further fallout from the revelations that forced him to quit as a London mayor candidate.

He is facing a police investigation, demands for the return of 3m, the loss of the Tory whip in the Lords and the threat of more revelations on the way - two days after an old lie caught up with him.

This is the end of politics for Jeffrey Archer. I will not tolerate behaviour like this is in my party. This will be an example to others and I will not hesitate to act in the same way in the future.
William Hague, Tory leader
The Conservatives on Monday removed the whip from their former London mayor candidate and announced they would refer aspects of the allegations against him to their ethics and integrity committee.

The ethics committee will examine Lord Archer's claim that no further embarrassing episodes from his life could emerge and his fake alibi during a 1986 libel trial.

Tory leader William Hague followed the move with a BBC interview in which he insisted his party would not tolerate such behaviour.

Party chairman Michael Ancram said the mayoral candidate's resignation showed the party's determination to tackle sleaze.

He confirmed the committee could recommend Lord Archer's expulsion from the Conservative Party.

It is a terrible indictment of Mr Hague. If he had acted at the beginning and summoned Archer for the grilling his past conduct deserves, this need never have happened.
Michael Crick, unauthorised biographer of Lord Archer
But the embarrassment for Mr Hague is far from over, with new episodes from Lord Archer's past expected to emerge in days.

As the search for a new Tory candidate for London mayor begins, Lord Archer also faces possible court proceedings and demands from the Daily Star for the return of libel damages and court costs.

The peer admitted on Saturday he had asked a friend to lie for him before a libel trial. Although the evidence was not needed in court, charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice could be brought.

The Tories' troubles are not eased by the absence of an obvious heavy-hitting candidate to take over as its mayoral candidate.

Possible contenders
Steven Norris
Virginia Bottomley
Archie Norman
Sebastian Coe
Runner-up in the past selection, former transport minister Steven Norris, is yet to state whether he will stand again after the party decided to start again.

Former Prime Minister John Major dismissed reports he might go for the post. But Olympic medal winner Sebastian Coe, millionaire businessman Archie Norman and former Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley are still considering their chances.

Mr Ancram said he hoped new candidates would emerge in coming weeks and claimed the episode showed the party had a system in place to tackle damaging allegations.

"Whereas in the past sleaze ran on and one, now we have a system for dealing with it."

Max Clifford: The man behind the scandal, again
But the publicist who led to Lord Archer's downfall, Max Clifford, suggested the scandal may have just begun.

The peer's former friend, Ted Francis, who sold his story of providing a false alibi to The News of the World, would make a further statement on Tuesday, he said.

Two other past associates of Lord Archer have also approached the PR supremo to reveal their stories.

"All I know is it's if you like more of the same - people who have known Jeffrey Archer for a long time who have known things about him that will come out," Mr Clifford said.

'We want 3m back' - Star

While Mr Francis apparently gained only 19,000 from selling his story, his actions have led to demands by the Daily Star for 500,000 in damages and 700,000 in court costs plus interest from Lord Archer. The tabloid's editor, Peter Hill, put the total at 3m.

Lord Archer asked Mr Francis to say he had dined with him at a Chelsea restaurant on 9 September 1986 ahead of his libel case against the Daily Star, which had accused him of having sex with prostitute Monica Coghlan. He denied the allegations and won 500,000.

The Daily Star originally claimed the alleged meeting with Ms Coghlan was 9 September 1986, but changed the date to 8 September in court, meaning Mr Francis was never needed as a witness.

Lord Archer insisted he was in the restaurant that night and said he was simply trying to protect the person he was with, his then personal assistant Andrina Colquhoun
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See also:
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague faces toughest test
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
First test for ethics panel
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Who now for London Tories?
22 Nov 99 |  UK
Ted Francis - Archer whistleblower
22 Nov 99 |  UK
Bullseye for Clifford's arrow
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Will Archer face criminal charges?
21 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Q&A: Archer's legal dilemma
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague left fuming as Archer falls
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Profile: Jeffrey Archer
21 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Hague under pressure over Archer
21 Nov 99 |  UK
Love is: Marriage to Jeffrey
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer statement in full
20 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
A mayor for the millennium

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