Mitchell: Act Two of Whitehall farce

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

We are in Act Two of the Whitehall farce "What The Chief Whip Said".

But we are no closer to discovering whether the accused is guilty or innocent of the central charge - using a four letter word to an officer of the law.

Not any four letter word, mind you, but the most politically toxic of them all. The P word. P**b.

Forgive me if I appear not to be taking this seriously.

I am but I am amused by the fact that the government Chief Whip can admit to repeatedly using the F word in front of the boys in blue but cannot dare admit to saying pleb - something which he continues to deny in private.

Andrew Mitchell and No 10 hoped that his on camera apology would draw a line under this story.

It has failed to do so since the Tories' coalition partners have failed to back the man who is the government's - and not just the Conservatives' - Chief Whip.

The new Lib Dem Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne said: "I think people want to know what was said... Explaining to the media what was not said, is not the same as explaining to the media what was said".

Former party leaders Menzies Campbell and Paddy Ashdown both believe that Mitchell now needs to spell out what he did and didn't say.

The current leader, Nick Clegg, is desperate that the story simply goes away so he has walked a tightrope by welcoming the fact that Mitchell has apologised and "been contrite" without giving him full backing.

As I write, Vince Cable is getting to his feet.

I am told that he will make a joke about the P word - the sort of ministerial indiscipline which the Chief Whip ought really to clamp down on.

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

What's the PM's next move on Iraq? localisation->translate("watch"); ?>

What next for the UK's policy on Iraq and Syria following the death of James Foley?

Watch Nick's report

More on This Story

More from Nick

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 345.

    " no boss I didn't say that" ( in a naughty child style ) if the PM is stupid enough to believe him it's a worry that he is in New York looking after our countries interests .his support for Mitchell is infact accusing the police officers of fabrication of evidence ,does he not realise this ? that is more of a worry a fool in charge

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 344.

    As usual the establishment are trying to cover up this disgraceful action by an arrogant government whip. Why am, I not surprised at the police chief agreeing to let it drop? As a working class man I would have been arrested for what Mitchell said but time and time again I have seen the slippery middle classes use their contacts to avoid justice. The middle classes avoid prosecution and prison.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 343.

    Now BoJo's weighed in following the populist trail .....nuff said.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 342.

    we have a weak PM and an out of touch gov ,a good PM would have sacked Mitchell straight away ,just shows the gov have no regard for the middle or working clases

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 341.

    338.KiltBill
    2 Hours ago
    337.Eatonrifle,
    if Hunt is still fit to be in office, if Blair can't be called up for War Crimes, if all those caught out with expenses are still fit to be in office, then no, I don't think he's any worse than them.

    xxxxxx

    In the case of Blair, at least:

    Maybe because he's not a War Criminal?

    Just saying.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 340.

    'The Plebs' a well written, serious and informative publication and closely associated with the NCLC, sadly no longer with us.
    However, now is probably a good time for its rebirth.
    'Thrasher Mitchell' could learn a lot from having a look at some old issues.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 339.

    Kilt

    Say no more. The message is coming through loud and clear.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 338.

    337.Eatonrifle,
    if Hunt is still fit to be in office, if Blair can't be called up for War Crimes, if all those caught out with expenses are still fit to be in office, then no, I don't think he's any worse than them.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 337.

    Kilt

    You clearly believe Mitchell is fit to continue in office, which puts you in approx a minority of less than 10% even according to the Torygraph.

    But I respect your opinion.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 336.

    Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Mitchell, Fox - all cut from the same arrogant cloth. Cameron ended up as leader and ultimately PM as a result of his PR training and ability to spend 5 years hiding behind his sham claim of 'new politics'. Well at least that charade is over now.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 335.

    Eatonrifle,
    No, the way to move on is to remember this when it comes to the next General Election, and then decide if having arrogant, out of touch Toff's is worse than having spend and run Labour, or the Lib Dooms.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 334.

    Kilt

    In a way I agree.

    And the way to move onto more important issues would have been for Spineless Cameron to have sacked him immediately and not to simply stick his fingers in his ears and pretend it hadn't happened.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 333.

    #332.Eatonrifle
    "You could not make this up."

    Your right. The story should be "Britain's more worked up over some toffy nosed comment to a policeman than over Syrian attrotities and then UK's own unemplyment"

    Get a grip, people!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 332.

    You could not make this up.

    Apparently, the Cabinet Office has revealed today that the very next day Mitchell tried to use the same gate once again!!

    The man's sense of arrogance and superiority knows no bounds.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 331.

    Problem for me this:

    The Sun (which I hate) conspiring with the Police (who I trust as far as I can throw a burly PC) to bring down a rather unpleasant politician who we can well do without. Oh and just for good measure he used to be an investment banker.

    On balance I hope Mitchell survives (being a nice guy isn't a pre-requisite for a job in a tory cabinet) but I'm rooting for none of them.

  • Comment number 330.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 329.

    Reading the "transcript", my guess is it's been doctored. The first half shows all the grammatical errors of a typical police log. Somehow these disappear at the important point. For example, I'm not convinced by the sentence: "... The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official...."

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 328.

    No326 rainbowdog,
    You are right to draw attention to the feeble, spineless and inept leadership of David,surely the weakest Tory leader in living memory.
    The question of trust also arises, the Tory MP and military hero P Mercer says he would not trust him as far as he could throw him.
    Clearly more suited to cooking Rebekah's country suppers, or maybe washing up.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 327.

    Well I for one have no faith this arrogant man will lose his job - they are trying to sweep it under the carpet as usual and hope it will all die away. They think and treat us as if we are fools.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 326.

    Cameron is either inept, clueless, easily misled - my original thought, given previous precedent re. Coulson, Hunt, lost count of the others - or he's colluding with Gnasher sorry Thrasher. Longer it goes on the more I think Cameron is saying to Thrasher 'don't worry chum, we're in power the plebs are just plebs, don't worry about them'.

 

Page 1 of 18

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.