Before becoming an author, Archer was a Member of Parliament (1969–1974), but did not seek re-election after a financial scandal that left him almost bankrupt. He revived his fortunes as a best-selling novelist; his books have sold around 330 million copies worldwide.
Archer became deputy chairman of the Conservative Party (1985–86), before resigning after a newspaper accused him of paying money to a prostitute. In 1987, he won a court case and was awarded large damages because of this claim. He was made a life peer in 1992 and subsequently became Conservative candidate to be the first elected Mayor of London. He had to resign his candidacy in 1999 after it emerged that he had lied in his 1987 libel case. He was imprisoned (2001–03) for perjury and perverting the course of justice, ending his elected political career.
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