The Archer Affair: Sorting Fact From Fiction: The Extraordinary Life Of Lord Archer

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The Independent Online
15 April 1940

Jeffrey Howard Archer is born at City of London Maternity Hospital, the son of William and Lola Archer. Lord Archer was to claim falsely later that his father was a senior army officer who had won the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His father was a fraudster and impostor pursued by police in Britain, Canada and the United States.

October 1963

Lord Archer claimed he was a student at Oxford University. Although technically correct he was actually attached to the Oxford Department of Education. He claimed to have had three A-levels - in fact he had none. He also stated he had completed a two year US anatomy course. The course did not exist. Archer threw himself into various fund-raising activities, helping to get the support of The Beatles for the Hunger Million campaign.

May 1964

Running for the Oxford University Athletics Club, Lord Archer won a blue. Questions were asked whether he was eligible to take part in Varsity matches. He went on to have an impressive career in running and was, briefly, selected to represent for England and Great Britain.

Summer 1966.

Lord Archer married Mary Weeden at the University church, St Mary-the- Virgin. Mary describes herself in the marriage certificate as a "research graduate". Jeffrey too claimed to be a research graduate, which he was not.

December 1969

Lord Archer entered the Commons as Conservative MP for Louth. He claims he is the youngest ever MP, which is untrue - he was the fifth youngest.

August 1974

Lord Archer had invested in Canadian industrial cleaning company Aquablast, which turned out to be fraudulent, and lost pounds 427,000. A bankruptcy notice was issued against him and he resigned his seat. Later, in Toronto to give evidence in the resulting court case, Lord Archer was arrested on suspicion of stealing three suits from a department store. He was not prosecuted.

April 1976

Lord Archer began his comeback to public life with the publication of Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less. The book was panned critically, but sold well, as have his other novels.

September 1985.

Rehabilitation appeared to be complete as Lord Archer is appointed vice- chairman of the Conservative Party.

September 1986

Allegations are made about Lord Archer and a prostitute Monica Coghlan (right). The News of the World published a story claiming Lord Archer had paid Ms Coghlan to leave the country, while the Daily Star alleged he had had sex with the prostitute. Lord Archer resigned as Tory vice- chairman and sued for libel.

July 1987

Archer v Express Newspapers - publishers of the Daily Star - reached the High Court. After summing up by the judge, Sir Bernard Caulfield with repeated glowing references to Mary Archer - "is she not fragrant..."

- Lord Archer won pounds 500,000 in damages. Express Newspapers also ordered to pay pounds 700,000 in costs. News of the World settled, paying Lord Archer pounds 50,000 damages and pounds 30,000 costs.

June 1992

Created a life peer.

January 1994

Buys 50,000 shares in Anglia TV at a time when his wife was a director of the company. The shares, bought on behalf of a Kurdish friend, Broosk Saib, netted a profit of pounds 77,000. There were accusations of insider dealing but, following DTI inquiries, no charges were brought.

October 1999

Lord Archer defeats, Steven Norris, by 15,716 votes to 6,350 to win the Tory candidacy for the post of Mayor of London.

20 November 1999

Lord Archer pulls out of candidature after he is revealed to have organised a false alibi during the Monica Coghlan action. Faces police investigation for alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

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