David Cameron urged to look into Andrew Mitchell’s police outburst
PRIME Minister David Cameron was last night urged to review evidence around Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell’s alleged foul-mouthed outburst at Downing Street police officers.
Mitchell’s career was still hanging in the balance yesterday after police suggested the Tory MP was close to being arrested after allegedly shouting “learn your f****** place” when he was stopped from cycling out of Downing Street’s gates.
Mitchell was also reported by a tabloid newspaper to have called the police “morons” and said, “best you learn your f****** place. You don’t run this f ****** government. You’re f****** plebs”.
The former shadow police minister apologised for failing to treat officers with respect but he has denied using some of the language reported.
Cameron was last night told by Labour to “get to the truth”.
And Paul Beshenivsky, whose wife Sharon was killed on duty in West Yorkshire, in November 2005, called on Cameron to take responsibility for Mitchell’s actions. He said: “Ministers shouldn’t be going round foul-mouthing police officers.”
Conservative Nick de Bois warned that Mitchell was in “deep trouble” if evidence emerged supporting the officers’ version of events.
Labour called on the PM to take swift action to uncover the truth about the tirade, including examining Downing Street CCTV footage.
Shadow police minister David Hanson said: “The Prime Minister needs to review urgently Andrew Mitchell’s version of events versus what the police officers have said.”
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron said the comments, as reported, were “beyond unacceptable. If he said what it is reported he said, it is absolutely appalling,” he said.
“All of us can have grouchy moments and say things we regret but it reveals, what he is reported to have said, something not terribly pleasant.
“A lot of this stuff is still yet to be revealed. It is David Cameron’s job to discipline his minister in the same way that if it was the Liberal Democrat chief whip, who I am sure would never do a thing like this, it would be Nick Clegg’s.”
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman John Tully said the minister’s outburst was “disgraceful” and he must resign.
Tully said the incident “just emphasises what we have felt for some time, that there is an inbuilt dislike of the police service in general from the government”.
However, some Tory MPs rallied to Mitchell’s support. Ken Clarke, the former justice minister and now minister without portfolio, said: “I have known Andrew for a long time and he is a perfectly reasonable, courteous man with the same high regard for the police services as anyone else.
“He obviously had a flare of bad temper on this occasion and has rightly apologised. I do think this should be allowed to set the matter at rest.”
Mitchell, who was also a minister under John Major in the early 1990s, has already apologised in a statement.
The MP for Sutton Coldfield said: “On Wednesday night I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before.
“I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way. While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve.
“I have seen the supervising sergeant and apologised, and will also apologise to the police officer involved.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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