Archer `pledged not to buy Anglia shares' letter

LORD ARCHER, the Tory candidate for mayor of London wrote to his wife assuring her he would not buy any Anglia shares 17 months before he placed an order for 50,00 of them, it was reported last night.

Dr Mary Archer was a director of the television company in August 1992 when the letter was written.

She passed it to Anglia's company secretary, Robin Stephenson.

The letter from Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, quoted by the Financial Times, reads: "Thank you for your letter of 31st July. I acknowledge being your husband and I am aware of you from time to time. I have no Anglia shares and I have no intention of buying any in the future." Written on a House of Lords letterhead, it is signed "Love, Weston-super Mare"

Anglia had requested all its directors that they should inform all "connected persons" of their obligation to disclose any dealings in the company's shares in order to comply with Stock Exchange rules. Disclosure of the letter's existence comes in the week after the Trade and Industry Department announced they were considering whether or not to reopen the investigation into the purchase of pounds 242,500 of Anglia shares by Lord Archer on behalf of his friend, Brook Saib.

An earlier investigation by the Dti led to no action being taken against Lord Archer.