Judgement day for Clark the seducer

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RETRIBUTION in the shape of an outraged husband and father was due to arrive from South Africa today to confront Alan Clark, the former government minister who has confessed to being a shameless philanderer.

Judge James Harkess was expected to land in London this morning, bent on denouncing the castle-owning millionaire to the largest possible audience for having seduced not only his wife Valerie, 57, but his daughters Alison, 36, and Josephine, 34.

Mr Clark, 66, is said to have had a 14-year affair with the three women - alluded to obliquely as 'the coven' in his diaries, which have become one of the best selling political memoirs in years.

Judge Harkess, however, was ignorant of Mr Clark's triple amorous conquest until Mrs Harkess, fearing he might see cryptic references to the affairs in the diaries - soon to be published in South Africa - confessed last week at their Cape Town home. His reaction was to tell all to the News of the World, announcing that he wanted to see Mr Clark horse-whipped.

Last night the former circuit judge went from words to action, boarding a London-bound aircraft with his wife and younger daughter, Josephine. Alison is believed to be estranged from the family and living in


The judge, a former Conservative candidate, said he was coming to Britain 'to tell the truth, to set the record straight, not only for my own family's sake but also - and I don't want to seem high-blown - at this critical time in what is going on in Britain for the sake of a lot of people. I feel that certain people in the present government and the recent government are rotten to the core and I think this should be brought out.'

He disclosed that he had decided not to get a horsewhip - its use would be a criminal act, he said. But he has acquired the 1990s equivalent - a contract with Max Clifford, the publicist who acted for the actress Antonia de Sancha after her affair with David Mellor, then a Tory minister.

Last night Mr Clark, the former Tory MP for Plymouth Sutton, who stood down in 1992 and in his diaries dished it out to all and sundry, revealed he was less adept at taking it. 'I have been bitterly traduced by people who, many years ago, I held in affection and trust,' he said.

'I make no complaint, recognising that, sadly, human relationships can degenerate, particularly when inducements of media exposure are present. But I have no intention of taking part in any kind of stunt prepared by a newspaper to enhance its circulation.'

However, the judge and his family may have other ideas. 'Tomorrow morning,' said Mr Clifford last night, 'we start the media circus.'

(Photograph omitted)

Leading article, page 13