Britain More Scandalous Than Fiction

The Tories' deputy chairman resigns after a prostitute payoff

The plot could have come from a popular potboiler. An ambitious young British politician has a one-night fling with a prostitute, who then tries to blackmail him. When he refuses to pay, she tells her tale to the press. But the newspapers nobly refuse to print her story, and the politician goes on to become Prime Minister.

In fact, this is an episode in Jeffrey Archer's First Among Equals, a 1984 best seller. But if truth is often stranger than fiction, there are also fewer happy endings. So it was for Archer, 46, deputy chairman of the Conservative ! Party and...

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