Clark denies exposing himself to Harkess girls

ALAN CLARK, the former defence minister, yesterday denied allegations that he had indecently exposed himself to Josephine Harkess and her sister Alison when they were 13 and 15.

The claim was made by Josephine, now 34, after she, her mother Valerie, 57, and her stepfather James, 64, a former deputy circuit judge, claimed Mr Clark had bedded all three Harkess women.

But Mr Clark said he saw no point in suing over the allegations of sexual impropriety made by the Harkesses since they flew into Britain on Monday to begin a series of television and newspaper interviews organised by their publicist, Max Clifford.

Commenting on the allegations of indecent exposure Mr Clark said: 'Of course I deny them, I have to deny them. It's virtually criminal. They are strong allegations and I think it's contemptible that they should follow Max Clifford's advice on that. I don't want to comment on that, I hate it. I'm not planning at this stage to take any legal action over these comments, I don't want to stoke this thing up. But presumably even Clifford's imagination is going to run out of ideas - he hasn't moved into electric flexes and rubber yet, has he?'

Mr Clark also denied claims that he had set up a pounds 100,000 offshore account for Mrs Harkess to hush up the affair. Josephine has said that Mr Clark often exposed his penis to her when she was in her early teens. She also accused him of seducing her when she was 23, at a time when she was suffering from a severe drink and drugs problem that made her particularly vulnerable.

Mr Clark, a self-confessed philanderer, has said he is sorry for the pain the scandal has caused and admitted he should be 'horsewhipped' for bedding the three women.

Mrs Harkess has admitted she was so 'addicted' to Mr Clark that she continued their 14-year affair even after learning that he had slept with her daughters.

Mr Clark has said the family's attack is motivated by money. But the Harkesses, who stand to make pounds 150,000 from television and newspaper interviews, claim they are in Britain to 'put the record straight' following reference to them in Mr Clark's best-selling diaries, in which he refers to the three women as 'the coven'.