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Monday, 29 November, 1999, 09:42 GMT
Police investigate fresh Archer claims
Lord Archer continues to spend most of his time at home

More than a week after he quit as Tory London mayor candidate, Lord Archer is facing renewed legal and political threats.

The Archer Scandal
Scotland Yard detectives are reported to be set to fly to Thailand to quiz the peer's former friend, Michael Stacpoole, who was photographed handing 2,000 to a prostitute on Lord Archer's behalf in 1986.

He revealed new allegations against the former mayoral hopeful at the weekend, claiming these would have undermined the libel case against The Daily Star had he been in the country.

I am following the advice I have received which is to reserve my responses and supporting evidence for the police inquiry
Lord Archer
"My evidence under cross-examination would have blown his case apart and he knew it," Mr Stacpoole told The Mail on Sunday.

The newspaper said the 61-year-old who lives in Thailand would return to Britain to repeat his allegations to police, who are already examining Lord Archer's libel evidence following a complaint by the Star.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said she was looking into the accuracy of new reports suggesting detectives had decided not to wait for Mr Stacpoole's return and would fly to the Pattaya resort to quiz him.

Ethics panel gets to work

Lord Archer, who has refused to leave the Conservatives following the revelations he asked a former friend to lie ahead of the 1987 libel trial, also faces the first formal move by the party to investigate the scandal.

Ted Francis: The former friend who ended Lord Archer's political career
The ethics and integrity committee set up by Tory leader William Hague after the general election will write to the millionaire novelist this week.

The three-member panel will ask him to respond to its investigations as it considers whether he has brought the party into disrepute.

It is the first time the ethics committee has acted since its creation.

In a statement issued by his lawyers, Mishcon de Reya, on Sunday night, Lord Archer said he would not be responding to the latest allegations made against him in the press "by individuals who have been paid for their stories".

He added: "In order that there is no misunderstanding as to my position, and especially in the light of what has appeared in some of today's Sunday newspapers, I wish it to be known that I am following the advice I have received which is to reserve my responses and supporting evidence for the police inquiry, which I understand has been requested by the Star newspaper and with which I intend fully to co-operate."

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See also:
28 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer rejects 'dubious' reports
27 Nov 99 |  UK
Hague 'will not tolerate sleaze'
24 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer ready to face Tory inquiry

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