Lord Archer invites you into his lovely home to meet his fragrant wife (and to say `sorry')

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The Independent Online
LORD ARCHER was faced with fresh allegations of lying and duplicity last night as he broke cover for the first time since his forced withdrawal from London's mayoral election.

The latest allegations came as Lord Archer and his wife Mary were photographed together at home.

In a statement, Lady Archer talked about her husband's "human" qualities, and said she will be standing by him. In her statement, Lady Archer said: " I am cross with Jeffrey, but I have formed the judgement that he is a decent and generous spirited man over 35 years and that will not change over one weekend or over any number of weekends.

"We are all human and Jeffrey manages to be more human than most - I believe his virtues and talents are also on a large scale."

But what was seen as a first public-relations step towards rehabilitation was overshadowed by claims in The Economist magazine which gave a further twist to reports of how Lord Archer asked a friend to fabricate an alibi over his libel action against the Daily Star newspaper over claims that he had slept with a prostitute.

The magazine accuses the peer of further lies and setting up a second false alibi over his 1987 libel trial. Writer Adam Raphael, who was a witness in the case, claims Lord Archer pressured him to change his evidence, and engaged in elaborate deceptions in the case.

As the couple released the photographs and statement, Scotland yard detectives visited the offices of the News of the World newspaper to obtain documents and secret tape recordings in which Lord Archer admits that he asked Ted Francis to lie for him.

Both the men are expected to be interviewed under caution in the new year.

A costly dinner, page 2;

Steve Richards,

Review page 3