A British Army general has been forced to step down after being found guilty of lying about a relationship during an investigation, the Telegraph has reported.

Major-General Chris Bell is understood to have been summoned to Army Headquarters at the Marlborough Lines in Andover before Christmas, where he learned of the decision that he must resign his commission.

The 48-year-old has now stepped down from his role as General Officer Commanding Army Recruitment and Initial Training Command.

A source told the Telegraph that Major-General Bell said he had an “emotional” relationship with a female subordinate which involved exchanging text messages, but denied there was a physical relationship.

Questions about the relationship were first asked during an unrelated investigation in 2019, when the then-Brigadier Bell was asked about his relationship with a reservist captain.

Subsequently, the Army Board, the body which manages the British Army, re-examined the evidence and concluded he had lied about the relationship. As a result, the Major-General was told to resign his commission.

Under the Promotions and Appointments Warrant 2009, the Defence Council, which is ultimately in charge of the UK’s armed forces, can require an officer “to retire or resign their commission for reasons other than misconduct and not necessarily within their own control,” as well as for offences of misconduct.

Offences of misconduct include “offences of serious dishonesty”, which is an act of gross misconduct and results in discharge, and “less serious offences of dishonesty” which can result in demotion.

Following his departure from the Army, Major-General Bell has been replaced as General Officer Commanding Army Recruitment and Initial Training Command by Major-General Sharon Nesmith.

She is the first woman to command as a two-star general in the British Army, and will oversee a budget of over £200 million to recruit and train regular and reserve members of the Army.

An Army spokesperson told the Telegraph: “Major-General Chris Bell has retired from the Army.

“We are not prepared to release any personal information about this individual. We have a duty under both common law and statute to protect the personal information of all those who serve or have served in the Army.”