Jeffrey Archer: books ex-MP has written, why he was in prison - and what he said on Good Morning Britain today

Jeffrey Archer was appointed as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party by Margaret Thatcher in 1985

Jeffrey Archer appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning (Wednesday 13 October) to discuss his upcoming book release.

This is everything you need to know about the ex-MP and best-selling novelist - and why he went to prison in the early 2000’s.

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Who is Jeffrey Archer?

Jeffrey Archer is an English novelist and former politician, serving as a Member of Parliament between 1969 and 1974.

He was born in London on 15 April 1940, and in 1951 won a scholarship to Wellington School in Somerset. He left school with O-levels in subjects including English, art and history.

In 1963, he was offered a place at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education to study for a Diploma of Education.

After leaving Oxford, Archer began a career in politics, serving as a Conservative councillor on the Greater London Council from 1967 to 1970.

Jeffrey Archer signing copies of his new book “To Cut a Long Story Short” at a book signing at Castlehill Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia (Photo: Matt Turner/Liaison/Getty Images)

At the age of 29, he was elected a Member of Parliament for the Lincolnshire constituency of Louth.

Archer was left almost £500,000 in debt after investing in a fraudulent scheme in 1974 with a Canadian company called Aquablast.

He stepped down as an MP at the October 1974 general election fearing his fast approaching bankruptcy.

Archer later revived his political career in the 1980s, and was appointed as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party by Margaret Thatcher in 1985.

He would later resign from this position in 1986 following a scandal involving an article by The News of the World which claimed that Archer had paid a prostitute £2,000.

Why was he sent to prison?

On 26 September 2000, Archer was charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice during a 1987 libel trial which focused on allegations that he had paid a prostitute for sex by tabloid the Daily Star, which was published shortly after The News of the World story broke.

Archer sued the Daily Star and the case came to court in July 1987, where Archer won the case and was awarded £500,000 in damages.

Years later in 2001, Archer was sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of lying during the 1987 case against the Daily Star.

Archer was found guilty on two counts of perverting justice, and two counts of perjury.

Jeffery Archer leaving Stockwell Police Station July 21, 2003 in South London after visiting his probation officer (Photo: Cattermole/Smith/Getty Images)

The prosecution found that Archer had faked diary entries used in the libel trial to back up a false alibi, provided by Ted Francis, that claimed he was somewhere else on the night in question.

He was sentenced to two years for the first count of perverting the course of justice, four years for a second charge of the same nature, three years for count five of perjury and four years for count six, which was also perjury. The sentences ran concurrently.

Prior to his sentencing, Mr Justice Potts said: “These charges represent as serious an offence of perjury as I have had experience of and have been able to find in the books.”

Throughout his time in prison, Archer was transferred to a number of different locations, including HM Prison Belmarsh, HM Prison Wayland, HM Prison North Sea Camp and HM Prison Hollesley Bay.

What books did he write while in prison?

Whilst in prison, Archer wrote a three volume prison diary series - the Hell, Purgatory and Heaven.

Hell covered Archer’s time in HM Prison Belmarsh, a double A-Category prison. Prisons in the UK are divided into four categories of security, with A as the most dangerous and D the least.

The synopsis for Hell reads: “On Thursday 19 July 2001, after a perjury trial lasting seven weeks, Jeffrey Archer was sentenced to four years in jail. He was to spend the first twenty-two days and fourteen hours in HMP Belmarsh, a double A-Category high-security prison in South London, which houses some of Britain ‘s most violent criminals.

“This is the author’s daily record of the time he spent there.”

Jeffrey Archer signing books during an interaction with readers at a book signing session in Mumbai (Photo: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Purgatory follows Archer as he is transferred to HMP Prison Wayland, a medium security prison in Norfolk.

“For the next 67 days, as he waited to be reclassified for an “open,” minimum security prison, he encountered not only the daily degradations of a dangerously overstretched prison system but also the spirit and courage of his fellow inmates,” the synopsis reads.

Finally, Heaven, the final volume in the prison diaries series, covers the period of his transfer from HMP Wayland to his eventual release on parole in July, 2003.

The synopsis says: “[Heaven] includes a shocking account of the traumatic time he spent in the notorious Lincoln jail and the events that led to his incarceration there, and also shines a harsh light on a system that is close to its breaking point.”

What other books has he written?

Alongside the prison diaries trilogy, Archer has written a number of books, including series’, children’s books, plays and short stories.

These are all the books that Archer has written.

Kane and Abel series:

  • Kane and Abel
  • The Prodigal Daughter
  • Shall We Tell the President? 

Clifton Chronicles:

  • Only Time Will Tell
  • The Sins of the Father
  • Best Kept Secret
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
  • Mightier Than the Sword 
  • Cometh the Hour
  • This Was a Man

William Warwick series:

  • Nothing Ventured
  • Hidden in Plain Sight
  • Turn a Blind Eye
  • Over My Dead Body

Children’s stories:

  • By Royal Appointment
  • Willy Visits the Square World
  • Willy and the Killer Kipper
  • The First Miracle 

Plays:

  • Beyond Reasonable Doubt
  • Exclusive
  • The Accused 

Standalone novels:

  • Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
  • First Among Equals 
  • A Matter of Honour
  • As the Crow Flies
  • Honour Among Thieves 
  • The Fourth Estate
  • The Eleventh Commandment 
  • Sons of Fortune 
  • False Impression 
  • The Gospel According to Judas, by Benjamin Iscariot
  • A Prisoner of Birth
  • Paths of Glory 
  • Heads You Win

Short stories and collections:

  • A Quiver Full of Arrows
  • A Twist in the Tale
  • Fools, Knaves, and Heroes: Great Political Short Stories 
  • Twelve Red Herrings
  • The Collected Short Stories 
  • To Cut a Long Story Short
  • Cat O’Nine Tales
  • And Thereby Hangs a Tale 
  • The New Collected Short Stories
  • The Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge Collection
  • Four Warned
  • It Can’t Be October Already
  • Tell Tale
  • The Short, the Long and the Tall 

What did he say on Good Morning Britain?

Archer appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to talk about the time he spent in prison and his new book.

Archer got distracted discussing the early call time of Good Morning Britain, and appeared to forget GMB host Ranvir Singh’s name.

He said: “I really admire, particularly the lady at the end there that seems to get up at three in the morning.”

Susanna Reid jumped in and corrected Archer, saying: “That would be Ranvir, the lady at the end.”

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