Jeffrey Archer

Cultural Life: Jeffrey Archer, Novelist


I have just read 'Up at the Villa' by Somerset Maugham, which has been re-issued by Penguin. It's set in Florence in the late 1930s and has a wonderful atmospheric feel, reminding us how very stiff upper-lipped the British used to be. It's fun.

The Big Question: Is the House of Lords corrupt, and is it time it was

Journalists posing as lobbyists approached members of the House of Lords offering them money if they would help change the law for the benefit of a fictitious Chinese businessman wanting to expand into the UK. Four are accused of agreeing to help, for fees ranging from £24,000 to £120,000. A committee of the House of Lords will look into the allegations, and will ask the Sunday Times, the newspaper that published the story last weekend, to supply recordings of the conversations, and will ask the four peers to explain themselves. But even if the committee finds they have done wrong, it is not at all clear what happens next.