Lord Archer bailed after day of police questioning

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Indy Politics

Lord Archer returned to his London riverside flat late this afternoon remaining tight-lipped about a day of questioning by police over allegations that he attempted to pervert the course of justice.

He was released on bail until a date in June.

A former Tory grandee, Lord Archer was forced to drop out of the race to become London mayor after it was alleged that he asked a witness to lie for him in the run up to his 1987 libel trial.

Former Tory Party deputy chairman Lord Archer was selected as the party candidate for the London mayoral elections.

But he pulled out last November amid claims that he asked a friend Ted Francis to say they had dined together on September 9, 1986.

Lord Archer's movements that night were put under the spotlight after the Daily Star alleged it was the night he slept with prostitute Monica Coghlan.

He later said he was actually dining with a "close female friend" Andrina Colquhoun, whom he wanted to shield from publicity.

In the event, by the time of the trial, the Star had changed the date of the alleged encounter and Francis was never called to give evidence.

The Conservative Party has expelled Lord Archer from the party for five years in the wake of the scandal.

The bestselling author won £500,000 after the libel trial in 1987.

In his statement resigning from the London mayoral race, Lord Archer said he should not have asked Francis to cover for him.

But he insisted the matter had no bearing on the libel trial.

However, the Daily Star, which is seeking to win back the damages, has claimed if the jury had known he was prepared to ask a friend to lie to cover up his meeting with a young woman, they would not have been so ready to accept his presentation of himself as a family man with a happy marriage.

Lord Archer was arrested in connection with the allegations when he arrived at the police station, police said.

A spokesman for Conservative Central Office said: "Lord Archer is not a member of the Conservative Party and has got nothing to do with us."