Archer's job axed
JAILED peer Lord Archer has been banned from working at an Ipswich-based project for people with disabilities.The millionaire novelist, currently serving a four-year jail term for perjury at Hollesley Bay jail, was due to work at the Genesis Project in Wright Road.
JAILED peer Jeffrey Archer has been banned from working at an Ipswich-based project for people with disabilities.
The millionaire novelist, serving a four-year jail term for perjury at Hollesley Bay, was due to work at the Genesis Project in Wright Road. The project, run by Orwell Mencap, provides work for people with learning difficulties.
Inmates from Hollesley Bay have worked at the project for several years – and last autumn project manager Graham Bailey was asked if it could offer work to Archer.
"I said yes. It seemed like a very good idea," said Mr Bailey.
"We are well out of the town centre and in a reasonably secluded area – we're not open to the public so there shouldn't be a media scrum.
"But the prison authorities didn't see it that way and have blocked plans for Archer to take the job.
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"During the autumn we were told he hadn't been at Hollesley long enough, but should be coming after Christmas.
"Then after Christmas he didn't come and then about three weeks ago I was told he wouldn't be coming. I think it's because they feared the publicity.
"I think it's a great pity. We have prisoners working with the people here and both sides benefit enormously.
"If Lord Archer had come here I'm sure he would have found great benefit in working with our people – and it would have been good for us if he had spread the word about us when he is eventually released."
Mr Bailey said he understood the proposal had been blocked at a high level after the authorities at Hollesley had given it the go-ahead.
He had spoken to Archer by telephone and understood he had been very disappointed when he learned he was not being allowed to work at the project.
Archer hit the headlines in the middle of last year when he was photographed arriving at Lincoln Theatre Royal while on da- release from North Sea Camp a few miles away.
It provoked anger because he was allowed to drive his own car – an upmarket BMW – from the prison to the theatre.
His work there stopped when he was moved away from North Sea Camp to Lincoln Prison following the revelation he had been to a lunch party with former Tory cabinet minister Gillian Shephard during home leave one Sunday.
He was moved to Hollesley Bay in September, and since then there has been speculation that he could find a work placement in Ipswich.
Earlier reports that he could work in a charity shop in the town always looked wide of the mark – but the Genesis Project would apparently have been ideal for him.
At Genesis, people with learning difficulties make garden furniture, pottery, and other craft-related items under the supervision of instructors.
These instructors include some inmates from Hollesley Bay as part of their rehabilitation.
A spokeswoman for the prison service said: "Lord Archer did apply to work as a business advisor for a local charity as part of his work placement in the community.
"However, his application was turned down by the panel at Hollesley Bay as they felt it did not address his specific re-settlement needs."