THE ARCHER AFFAIR: MAYORAL RACE INTO CHAOS

January 1997: Tony Blair includes referendum on creation of a London Mayor and Assembly in election manifesto

April 1998: Polls put Ken Livingstone as favourite. Jeffrey Archer appears as Tory front-runner

May: Referendum of Londoners shows 70 per cent backing for mayor. New Greater London Authority to start on 4 May, 2000

June: Sir Timothy Kitson, former Tory MP, asks Cecil Parkinson, then Tory chairman, for inquiry into Archer's Anglia TV share deals. No action taken. Journalist Michael Crick writes to William Hague, offering evidence about Archer, including libel trial information he cannot publish. No action taken

March 1999: Margaret McDonagh, Labour General Secretary, asks Frank Dobson to stand for Mayor. He refuses

October: Archer wins Tory nomination, trouncing Stephen Norris after one-member, one-vote ballot of London party. Mr Dobson agrees to run. Stephen Byers, Trade and Industry Secretary, orders DTI to look at Anglia share deal

12 November: Mr Blair makes clear Mr Livingstone should not be blocked from shortlist

16 November: Mr Livingstone, Mr Dobson, Glenda Jackson and Ken Baldry see selection board. Probe recalls Mr Livingstone

18 November: Mr Livingstone opposes Tube sell-off, but agrees on party manifesto. Ms Jackson, Mr Dobson, Mr Livingstone on shortlist

19 November: News of the World confronts Archer with Ted Francis allegations. DTI tells Lord Archer no further inquiry into his Anglia deal

20 November: Archer resigns after sacking threat from Mr Hague

21 November: Tories decide to hold a ballot for a new candidate

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