Caretaker defence chief likely to be appointed as successor: Simon Midgley and Maggie Brown report on the Harding affair aftermath

THE SUCCESSOR to Sir Peter Harding, who resigned on Sunday night as Britain's most senior military officer after being accused of adultery with the Spanish ex-wife of a former Navy minister, will be announced today.

General Sir Peter Inge, 58, Chief of the General Staff, who has taken over as caretaker Chief of Defence Staff, is thought by many in the Ministry of Defence to be the most likely candidate to take over the pounds 112,083-a-year post.

Admiral Sir Jock Slater, 55, the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, who is noted for his charm and military acumen, is also favoured by some in the MoD.

Another candidate is Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, who is seen as the least likely to be appointed.

Sir Peter Harding, who served as Chief of Defence Staff for 15 months and was expected to continue for another year, resigned on Sunday night after the News of the World published a five-page report of his affair with Bienvenida Perez-Blanco, 32, while she was married to Sir Antony Buck, 65, former Conservative MP for Colchester North and sometime junior navy minister in the Heath administration 20 years ago.

In the report, for which Miss Perez-Blanco is said to have been paid handsomely (although not quite as much as the pounds 200,000 suggested in some reports), she identified the unnamed man cited in the subsequent divorce as Sir Peter and said that Sir Antony had found out about their affair after discovering love letters.

The most questionable part of the episode is held to be the way that the newspaper decided to verify the story by deliberately attracting Sir Peter to a lunch at the Dorchester Hotel, with journalists armed with cameras on hand to record the meeting.

Yesterday, Sir Antony was reported to have sold his side of the story to the Sun for an undisclosed fee. He issued a statement expressing his sadness over the break-up of his marriage and for Sir Peter and his family.

Professor Robert Pinker, the Press Complaints Commission's privacy ombudsman, would not say yesterday whether details of Sir Peter's affair should have been published, or whether he would carry out an investigation.

The payment obtained by Miss Perez-Blanco from the News of the World, with the assistance of publicist Max Clifford was not in breach of the commission's code of conduct, which rules out rewarding criminals. No calls complaining about Sir Peter's treatment were made.

Sir Peter, 60, has been married for 39 years and has four children. Sir Antony married Miss Perez-Blanco, 30 years his junior, in 1990 but the marriage broke up last September.

Women hurt most, page 21

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power