Andrew Mitchell: It doesn't look good

 
Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell has denied using foul and insulting language to an officer

It's a case of bad behaviour, bad language and very very bad timing.

The man just promoted by the prime minister to discipline Tory backbenchers showed very little of that discipline himself when told by a police officer that he couldn't ride his bike out of Downing Street using the main gate.

That the new Conservative Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, lost his temper with a member of Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group, is not in dispute. What is disputed is what he said.

The officer's Police Federation representative has confirmed his account of the row - first reported in The Sun: "Best you learn your f ---ing place. You don't run this f--- government"

He is also said to have added another politically toxic four letter word - calling the officer a "pleb."

Mr Mitchell insists he did not use any of the offending words although he has now apologised to the officer for failing to" treat the police with the respect they deserve".

I understand that although Downing Street is extensively covered by CCTV cameras there is no sound recording of the incident to prove who is telling the truth.

This will be little comfort to Mr Mitchell or his party since it allows Labour and other critics to point out that either a senior minister used appalling and offensive language to a police officer or he is saying that one of those tasked with protecting the prime minister is lying.

David Cameron gave his new Chief Whip the sort of public carpeting he wants Andrew Mitchell to deliver in private to rebellious backbenchers.

Nevertheless, one close ally of the prime minister told me that his colleague should not be put through the mill for a "momentary expression of exasperation" and said that he would be very surprised if the "pleb" word would have been used.

Mr Mitchell, I was told, is someone who likes to exert his authority and looks and sounds like a traditional Tory MP and so is seen as fair game.

All of which leaves the Chief Whip in his job but still in a very bad place indeed.

 
Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 286.

    If true, this may be indicative of the coalition government's disrespectful attitude to our beleaguered public services, exposing a lack of basic understanding of their work. Presumably, the officer didn't want to open a larger gate for security/safety reasons(?)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 285.

    The lack of any video evidence is somewhat surprising, or maybe not

    The only people I have ever seen swearing at uniformed police give the impression of being complete nut jobs
    Most of the time alcohol is a major factor

    ...so a lack of video isn't really a surprise...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 284.

    What annoys me here is that the police office went to the paper with the story and didn't handle it in professional way and have it handled in house and now its just a he-said/he-said fight off in the media. Nothing learned from Lord Levinson or Operation Weeting(not that i am accusing the officer of receiving a payment from New Internations)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 283.

    Morally unprincipled, shameless.
    and without hope of salvation from the Murdoch media in particular. To put it quite bluntly, an undesirable, especially in mental and moral qualities.
    The adjective degenerate comes to mind.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 282.

    Mitchell is an arrogant reprobate who should be sacked.
    End of.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 281.

    Bearing in mind just how much media flak Mitchell is getting, is he issuing a writ for defamation of character? Surely that is what a man in his (version of events) would do - his political career could soon be in utter tatters. Unless of course he DID throw an arrogant swearing tantrum & is now trying to lie his way out of a big hole. The matter of lying is far bigger than the original incident.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 280.

    In addition to the cameras all over the area of the incident I would have thought that the officer would be wearing one of those widely used body cameras like this:

    http://www.lichfieldpeople.co.uk/images/localpeople/ugc-images/275835/Article/images/13290094/3159864.png

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 279.

    Possibly society getting the politicians it deserves. Sadly there is a yobbish element throughout the country trying to drag society down to it's level. Ably supported by some of the media, "Eastenders" springs to mind. Seems to be succeeding, at least with certain senior tories.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 278.

    Am I right in saying this man joined the army as an officer in February 1975, went to Cambridge in October the same year, paid for by the tax payer on an officer's salary, also paid by the tax payer, then resigned his commission two years later before graduating and having to face an angry man? He should have more respect for those who really are at the sharp end and stick at a career in service.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 277.

    Either the two policemen and the passers-by are lying.

    Or Mitchell is lying.

    If the latter, the man must go.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 276.

    Its a shame the way things are turning out with these latest tories. At 1st Cameron seemed like a breath of fresh air, genuinely centrist and with the libdems we were going to get a balanced govt. What do we get the most rightwing, backward govt in memory. I remember them acknowledging when they got ko'd last time that they had become seen as conceited, arrogant and out of touch. They never learn.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 275.

    Sorry, forgot to say that Andrew Mitchell looks like a clean shaven Freddie Boswell.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 274.

    It seems that becoming Chief Whip went to his head, or maybe he has always been this arrogant? Mitchell seems to have an exaggerated sense of self importance with extreme rudeness thrown in. The country deserves much better.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 273.

    Yes Andrew Mitchell, i wonder what you would say to the same Police officer, if in the future, that same officer had to put "his" life "on the line to save yours?.
    You tend to think that a person of your senior years, has riden himself of the art of snobbery, and "shoolboy" slang, this seems not the case, as far as your concerned.

    Grow-up, "little boy"

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 272.

    Cameron should have opened the Downing street gates himself and told this clown Mitchell to get on his bike and not to bother coming back.
    But, surprise surprise, it aint gonna happen.
    As the late great Terry-Thomas would say..."WHAT A SHOWER!"

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 271.

    Bankers bailed out. Mitchell is one. Pension Pots Plundered. The disrespect is already evident. 14% contributions working on the front line until 60. Probably won't be able to open the gate by that age. Let alone shoot straight. Or would Mitchell like to rejoin the British Army - Officer Class of course.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 270.

    here we go again, politics not politicians. So someone has a rant at a jobs worth who wouldn't let him through. Swearing and ranting who cares. Maybe even having to lie as he knows how it will all unfold. Get on with it. The losers here are the police for being pathetic victims. No man should lose his job. HATE this politcal correctness.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 269.

    I do not understand why no one has asked Andrew Mitchelll what he thinks he said for which he has apologised if it was not the words the police say he said.
    And for heavens sake where is the Home Secretary in all this?

    Jeff Rooker

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 268.

    Seems Mr Mitchell needs to"know his place" . He is a public servant and as such should not be rude to any of his employers, one of whom is the policeman in question who shares in paying Mr Mitchell's wages.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 267.

    If Mitchell thinks the Police are Plebs the one he referred to is the Pretorian Guard. Worse, his Caesar's accepting a qualified apology and KC's comments show this contempt is endemic. Worse still to voice this insult to the police the same week as the deaths in Manchester, shows a lack of judgement that had it been shown by a Police Officer would have lead to misconduct proceedings.

 

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