Cameron rejects Archer return

Conservative leadership frontrunner David Cameron has insisted there would be no place for Jeffrey Archer in a party led by him.

It was revealed this weekend that the disgraced peer had applied to rejoin the party. He was expelled in 2000 after being convicted and jailed for perjury.

Lord Archer returned to the House of Lords as a non-affiliated peer in May, but news that he is applying to return to the Tory fold prompted speculation about his future role.

Tory leadership candidate David Davis has insisted he wants to check the facts before rushing to judgment on the peer.

But his rival, who is currently leading the race to succeed Michael Howard as Conservative leader, insisted he would not tolerate Lord Archer taking the party whip in the Lords.

“I think that his days as a frontline politician are over,” Mr Cameron said.

The shadow education secretary said that any decision on whether Lord Archer joined his local Conservative association was up to the local board, saying it would be “crazy” for the party leader to intervene in the proper process of membership.

“But if I was leader of the party, the thing that would be under my control is who receives the whip for the party in the House of Lords and I don’t think it would be appropriate for Jeffrey Archer to receive that whip. I’m quite clear that he should not do that,” he said.

Lord Archer was banned from the Conservative party for five years following his conviction and subsequent two-year jail sentence for perjury, but this ran out in February.

In an article with The Australian, he revealed that he had quietly rejoined the party, causing consternation among many at Conservative central office.

Although he is entitled to sit in the upper House, Lord Archer said he would like to do so under the auspices of the Tory party.