CONTROVERSIAL politican and best-selling author Jeffrey Archer was in Oxford today to sign copies of his latest novel and take part in the city’s literary festival.

Lord Archer chatted to a small crowd of fans at Borders as he signed copies of Paths of Glory, a fictionalised account of George Mallory’s life and tragic attempt to conquer Everest.

He said: “It’s lovely to be back in Oxford. I met my wife here and all my memories of the city are happy ones.”

Lord Archer, who studied for a teaching diploma at Brasenose College and rowed in the 1962 Boat Race, said Oxford had changed a great deal since his college days.

“You need a compass and a friend just to get to Borders,” he said.

Lord Archer has been asked by the Oxford Union to speak there later this year about Mallory, who died on Everest and who some believe may have beaten Sir Edmund Hillary as the first man to reach the summit of the mountain.

Among those getting his book signed was Stephen Smith, 57, from Witney.

He said: “It was my first chance to meet him.

“I enjoy his books and I enjoyed meeting him very much.”