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Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 11:00 GMT
Key witness 'admitted lying for Archer'
Lord Archer Lord Archer: New claims over libel case

Fresh allegations that the disgraced Tory politician Lord Archer persuaded a friend to lie for him in court in order to win a libel trial have surfaced in the press.

The Archer Scandal
The Guardian claims the man who provided Lord Archer with his crucial alibi in his 1987 libel trial with the Daily Star was lying.

The man in question, Terence Baker, is now dead, but Nick Elliott, a senior television executive, said that Mr Baker had told him that he had lied under oath when he said he was with Lord Archer on the night in 1986 when it was claimed he was with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

Ms Coghlan has always stood by her claims over Lord Archer and has recently she said she wants to see the matter re-examined in court.

Mr Elliott says Mr Baker was lying when he told the court he was with Lord Archer at 12.30am to 1am, the precise time the Daily Star claimed the peer was having sex with Ms Coghlan in a central London hotel room.

Ted Francis Ted Francis's original revelations led to Lord Archer's downfall
If the fresh evidence can be proved, it will strengthen the Star's campaign to claw back the money it paid Lord Archer after losing the trial.

The paper is now demanding the return of 3m from Lord Archer, which it says will cover the 500,000 it paid him in damages as well as costs and interest.

The Guardian says a sworn statement from Mr Elliot has already been passed to the solicitors representing the Daily Star who are likely to pass it on to the police.

Despite posing for photographs Lord Archer has refused to speak to the media since the scandal first broke.

But his spokesman Stephan Shakespeare said the Tory peer denied the new allegations.

"These are more allegations from beyond the grave. It is getting more complicated than an Agatha Christie plot."

Mr Shakespeare added: "We have rules in this country that things people say in court count for a lot more than what they are reported to have said in private a long time ago and it is time for a bit of fairness."

The latest twist in the Archer saga follows his admission last month that he persuaded another friend, Ted Francis, to lie for him ahead of the 1987 trial.

Lord Archer was forced out of the race to become London's first mayor following the revelations and his future as a member of the Tory party is now in question.

The Tories have sought to distance themselves from him, while the party's ethics and integrity committee continues to investigate the claims.

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See also:
02 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Archer faces new cash demands
30 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer challenged by former prostitute
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
'I had to stop Archer'
29 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Livingstone rallies to Archer's defence
29 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Police investigate fresh Archer claims
26 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer breaks cover
25 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer 'more human than most'
25 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Archer 'will not refund libel damages'
21 Nov 99 |  UK
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