'Pleb' row: Andrew Mitchell calls for full inquiry
Published: 18th Dec 2012 23:42:54
Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has called for a "full inquiry" into the row with Downing Street police officers that cost him his job.
He spoke out during a Channel 4 News programme which alleged that a police officer had posed as a member of the public backing the police's story.
The programme accused the officer of falsely claiming to have seen the events in an email to his MP.
The Metropolitan Police Federation has strongly denied any "conspiracy".
John Tully, chairman of the federation that represents police in the Metropolitan Police Service, said: "The Metropolitan Police Federation unequivocally and categorically refutes any allegation that it was part of a conspiracy to unseat a cabinet minister."
No 10 said the claims made in the Channel 4 News report were "exceptionally serious".
A spokesman for the prime minister said it was essential for the police to "get to the bottom of this as a matter of urgency".
"We welcome [Metropolitan Police commissioner] Bernard Hogan-Howe's commitment to achieve that aim," he added.
Mr Mitchell resigned after he was alleged to have called police officers who refused to let him cycle through the main gate to Downing Street "plebs".
He reiterated his denial of the claim on the Channel 4 programme, although he admitted that he had lost his temper and sworn at the officers.
But the Conservative MP said he had been "really shocked" to learn of Channel 4's allegations that the original newspaper coverage of the claim he had used the word "pleb" had been corroborated by the email from the officer pretending to be an eyewitness.
"I always knew that the emails were false, although extremely convincing," Mr Mitchell said.
"If you'd told me on 19 September [the night of the row] that the experience I have had since then, the revelations that have since come to light, could take place in Britain today, I simply would not have believed you.
"And it's certainly shaken my lifelong support and confidence in the police.
"I believe now that there should be a full inquiry so that we can get to the bottom of this, so that everyone can have confidence that this sort of thing won't happen again."
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "An allegation that a serving police officer posed as a member of the public whilst fabricating evidence is a matter of the utmost gravity.
"I know that the Metropolitan Police Commissioner is committed to establishing the truth here, as soon as possible."
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Johnson's comments were the first time there had been suggestion of a conspiracy involving police officers.
Channel 4 News broadcast CCTV footage which it said cast doubt on the official police log of the night of the row.
The footage shows the MP with his bicycle talking to three officers by the main gate at Downing Street for about 20 seconds. He then wheels it over to the side gate and exits.
Mr Mitchell said on Channel 4 News that his first reaction was "there's not really much of an altercation" when the story about his dealings with the police emerged.
"There were three phrases above all which were hung around my neck for the following 28 days every day in the press which were used to destroy my political career and were used to toxify the Conservative Party," he added.
Before the footage was broadcast, Mr Hogan-Howe had told the BBC that he had seen no reason to doubt the original claims by the Downing Street police officers.
MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said he planned to write to the Met commissioner to ask for a full explanation of what happened.
Mr Mitchell told Channel 4 News he would never call anyone the name which he was accused of using, adding, "anyone who know me well would know that it is absolutely not in me to use phrases like that".
Asked why he did not give a more detailed account earlier, Mr Mitchell said: "Well, when the story broke, the decision was made that I would apologise for what I did say, and my apology was accepted; there was no police complaints and that we would let it lie.
"Now with the benefit of hindsight, that was clearly the wrong decision."
Following the airing of the Channel 4 News report, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: "Incredibly concerned at v serious C4 Dispatches suggestion that A Mitchell was stitched up, never believed he used p-word anyway."
Conservative MP David Davis told the BBC: "He has suffered a real injustice. His reputation has been traduced, he's lost his job, his career's come to an end and to all intents and purposes that's pretty tough on the basis of something that may not now be quite the way it looked at the beginning."
At 02:47:25 in BusinessWhether it is for its generous staff bonus or its Christmas advert, John Lewis has recently the been the subject of many good-news headlines. As the partnership celebrates 150 years since it opened its first store in central London how has it transformed?
At 02:35:58 in HeadlinesThe UN has expressed outrage at a deadly attack on one of its bases in South Sudan, saying it could "constitute a war crime".
At 02:34:41 in HeadlinesSaturday, as you'll surely need no reminding, is International Circus Day. Author Jeremy Clay delves into the Victorian newspaper archives to unearth a tale of a travelling menagerie, an escaped lion, and a Welsh holidaymaker on a spa stay that proved rather less than stress-free.
At 02:29:15 in HeadlinesMusic lovers and vinyl enthusiasts are gathering for the UK's seventh annual Record Store Day on Saturday. Despite many predictions of the demise of vinyl, it has never looked like disappearing. But who's still buying?
At 02:26:49 in HeadlinesShannon Airport in the Irish Republic has long been the unlikely host to celebrities and US presidents making the Transatlantic crossing, writes Christine Finn.
At 02:17:06 in Headlines1. People are more likely to catch yawns from people of their own ethnicity.
At 02:13:56 in ScotlandDelivering mail to Scotland's 94 inhabited islands - not to mention hundreds of remote communities in the Highlands - is an expensive business.
At 02:00:50 in HeadlinesThe Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of the struggle to do "what is right and just to all" over the issue of gay marriage within the Church of England.
At 01:36:37 in HeadlinesTeachers' unions are demanding that schools in England should only employ fully-qualified teachers.
At 00:46:49 in EntertainmentSusanne du Toit won last year's BP Portrait Prize, one of the UK's most prestigious visual arts awards.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. 'Pleb' row: Andrew Mitchell calls for full inquiry [Online] (Updated 18th Dec 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1470647/Pleb-row-Andrew-Mitchell-calls-for-full-inquiry [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
Tristram Hunt, Labour's shadow education secretary, is to warn against religious extremism in schools.
How do you tell the world about your remote-controlled flying fish toys?
There has been a serious two-vehicle road crash in County Tyrone.
Delivering mail to Scotland's 94 inhabited islands - not to mention hundreds of remote communities in the Highlands - is an expensive business.
Susanne du Toit won last year's BP Portrait Prize, one of the UK's most prestigious visual arts awards.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com