Monitor: The Sunday papers comment on Lord Archer's resignation as the Conservative Party's candidate for Mayor of London
ALL THE NEWS OF THE WORLD
Monday 22 November 1999
It gives us no joy today to see the downfall of Lord Archer. Confronted with yet another skeleton from his crowded cupboard he has withdrawn from the race to be the first Mayor of London. His qualities - his energy and enthusiasm - would never outweigh his flaws. Jeffrey Archer's helter-skelter career has taken another disastrous plunge. Now he should follow his own advice - and return to writing novels.
The Sunday Times
Lord Archer's agreement to quit reminds everybody that the Tories are over-endowed with colourful characters who cut corners when it suits them. Mr Hague's repudiation of Lord Archer smacks of hindsight. To say now that there is "no question" of him continuing as the Tory candidate ignores the fact that there were serious questions about Lord Archer becoming Tory candidate in the first place. Everybody who knew anything about his affairs and personality, knew it.
Jeffrey Archer was always a politician who lived on the edge. Last night he fell off. Simply put, he was exposed as a liar who was prepared to persuade a friend to lie for him. Only last week Lord Archer had been crowing at Labour's fiasco over their choice of candidate for the London Mayor's role. Now it is the Tory strategy that has collapsed in farce. Lord Archer was an accident waiting to happen. The warning signs were all there.
The Sunday Telegraph
It is not only Archer's reputation - or what remained of it - that has been destroyed. The Tories prospects in the mayoral election - whoever becomes their new candidate - look bleak. Last week Mr Hague observed that Ken Livingstone was Mr Blair's "night-mayor". He is eating his words today. Compared to Archer, Mr Livingstone is a sweet dream.
The Mail on Sunday
Lord Archer's demise will come as little surprise to those at Westminster who have followed his political career. Popular among the fabled "blue- rinse" Tory ladies for his flamboyant style, he has always been distrusted by the party hierarchy, who feared that within his campaign to become mayor there was an accident waiting to happen. William Hague endorsed his candidature through clenched teeth. But a strong body of opinion has always believed that the peer's often-vowed loyalty to the Conservative Party was simply a vehicle for his own ambitions. Those ambitions are now dust.
The Independent on Sunday
Despite Lord Archer's undoubted appeal to the best-seller-reading, apolitical middle-class electorate, he was always a damaged candidate. His campaign was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Goodbye and good riddance to Jeffrey Archer. The latest revelation confirms that he's a politician who can't be trusted. In standing down so quickly, he has for once done the right thing. He had hoped to keep his shady secrets hidden. He was wrong.
Lord Archer has disgraced himself; has made a mockery of his party, and has lowered still further the standing of politicians. It is a sad commentary on our political life that the mayoral contest has thrown up maverick candidates on either side of the political fence. The Archer affair will only deepen the widespread conviction that politicians are cynical, untrustworthy hypocrites.
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