Jeffrey Archer’s mother was a journalist and his father a convicted fraudster and bigamist. He attended a private school in Somerset. Archer gained a diploma from Oxford department of education, but it is alleged that he gave false academic qualifications to get on the course. He was successful in university athletics and briefly represented Great Britain at running.
Archer married Mary Weeden in 1966, and the next year he entered politics with a seat on the Greater London council. In 1969 he won a by-election for the Conservatives, but five years later he was forced to resign when he was declared bankrupt, after a fraudulent firm, in which he had invested, went bust.
In 1976 Archer published his first novel; it was not appreciated by the critics, but sold extremely well, as have his other novels, from which he has since made a fortune. He has also written a play, ‘The Accused’, which starred himself.
In 1985, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Conservative party. Then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was warned he was ‘an accident waiting to happen’. In 1986 he resigned after it was reported that he paid for sex with a prostitute. However, he sued and was awarded £500,000 in damages. He was awarded a peerage in June 1992.
Archer won the Conservative candidacy for London mayor in 1999, but was forced to stand down after reports that he persuaded a former friend to lie to court in the 1987 libel trial. He was suspended from the Tory party and a perjury investigation began. He was arrested in 2000, and committed to stand trial on five counts, including perjury and perverting the course of justice. He was found guilty in July that year.