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Jailed peer banned from disabled project

PUBLISHED: 05:16 20 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:18 24 February 2010

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 Prison, near Woodbridge, 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 Prison, near Woodbridge, 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 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. 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 added he had spoken to Archer by telephone and understood he had been disappointed when he learned he would not be allowed to work at the project.

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said: "Lord Archer did apply to work as a business adviser 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."

Archer hit the headlines last year when he was photographed arriving at Lincoln Theatre Royal while on day release from North Sea Camp a few miles away. It provoked anger because he was allowed to drive his own car 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.


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