Archer promoted to job as prison hospital orderly

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The Independent Online

The jailed perjurer Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare has been given a new job as a prison hospital orderly after failing in his attempt to be transferred to a jail closer to London.

But as he prepares for Christmas at the isolated North Sea Camp prison in Lincolnshire, the disgraced peer has told prison officials that he expects soon to receive visits from "ex-prime ministers".

Archer, who regards John Major and Baroness Thatcher as close friends, was recently visited by his fellow former Conservative Party chairman, Sir Brian Mawhinney.

Officials at North Sea Camp have noted that Archer "continues to receive high-profile social visits from MPs and ex-Olympic athletes", a reference to the former middle- distance runner Lord Coe. The former Conservative defence secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind is due to visit Archer shortly and three other former Tory ministers, Lord Wakeham, Michael Howard and Gillian Shephard, are expected at the jail over the Christmas holiday period.

But Archer's celebrity status and his high-profile visits may have been a factor in his being turned down for a transfer to Spring Hill prison in Buckinghamshire. During Archer's time at North Sea Camp the celebrity prisoner has been stalked by paparazzi photographers who have angered jail staff by hiding in bushes in the grounds.

Spring Hill is midway between London and the Archer family home in Granchester near Cambridge. But officials have told the peer that the prison is "not suitable" for him. Lord Archer has instead been advised to apply for a transfer to Hollesley Bay prison, a 1,500-acre former training centre for the unemployed on the Suffolk coast. Until then, Archer will live in a new cell in the hospital wing at North Sea Camp.

His duties as hospital orderly will include cleaning the floors, and weighing and measuring prisoners receiving treatment.

Archer, prisoner FF8282, formerly worked as an administrator in the prison's sentence enforcement unit, earning £8.40 a week. His enhanced status – for good behaviour – is likely to make him eligible for a Christmas bonus. Friends say he is planning to treat himself to extra chocolate and crisps from the prison shop for a holiday binge.

The peer's famous Krug champagne and shepherd's pie party was hosted this month by Lady Archer alone.

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