After six months in jail, Archer still feels sentence is ridiculous, says wife

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The Independent Online

Lady Archer said yesterday that her husband still considered his prison sentence for perjury to be "overblown and ridiculous". After serving six months in jail since his spectacular fall from grace, Jeffrey Archer had yet to generate full feelings of remorse, she said.

In a rare interview the 57-year-old Cambridge academic told Radio 4: "I think he has said before ... that he's made mistakes in both his private and his public life. I don't think he feels remorseful, however, about things above and beyond that. I think he feels, as we all do, that the whole process was very overblown and the result was ridiculous."

She revealed that she had read the first part of Archer's account of prison life, which she described as "searing" and an absorbing read.

"I wouldn't call Jeffrey philosophical. It is not easy to go through what he's going through and he finds it difficult at times. But he's a fighter, he's always been a fighter and he's keeping himself together."

Lady Archer also insisted her "stand by your man" performance during last summer's Old Bailey trial, at which her 61-year-old husband received a four-year jail sentence, had not been unconditional.

"Loyalty that becomes blind loyalty is misplaced loyalty and no one deserves it, but Jeffrey does deserve loyalty," she said. Asked about her reputation as an ice queen, she said: "I think it's exactly because the modern media, who are over-powerful, demand a particular kind of response, particularly from women. This is a highly sexist thing. It is perfectly OK for men to be self-contained, but it is not OK – although it is a traditional British virtue, or vice – for women to be self-contained."

She said life would continue as normal, even if she no longer knew quite what "normal" was, while her family awaited her husband's appeal. "It is surely a reasonable position, is it not, to say I have a private space and a public space and that is the boundary?" she said.

Lady Archer also indicated that she had no plans to sign a lucrative newspaper deal recounting her husband's trial. "Share your tears with the Mail on Sunday or else? No, certainly not," she said.

"I think it's an outrageous invasion. If you want to retain some kind of privacy in my position you had better not talk about things you don't wish to be discussed." She agreed her life had soap opera qualities, and added: "I sometimes feel myself to be a sort of actor on a stage."

Lady Archer also demanded a public apology from the MEP Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne for her comments about claims that Archer had embezzled funds from a multimillion-pound charity appeal.

The claims were later dismissed as "highly unlikely" by independent auditors.