ANDREW Mitchell has resigned, and sent the following letter to David Cameron. Included after is the prime minister’s response.
It is with enormous regret- not least because of the tremendous support and loyalty you have shown me during recent weeks - that I am writing to resign as your Chief Whip.
Over the last two days it has become clear to me that whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter I will not be able to fulfil my duties as we would both wish. Nor is it fair to continue to put my family and colleagues through this upsetting and damaging publicity.
I have made clear to you - and I give you my categorical assurance again - that I did not, never have and never would call a police officer a “pleb” or a “moron” or used any of the other pejorative descriptions attributed to me. The offending comment and the reason for my apology to the police was my parting remark “I thought you guys were supposed to f***ing help us”. It was obviously wrong of me to use such bad language and I am very sorry about it and grateful to the police officer for accepting my apology.
I am immensely grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your Development Secretary for seven and a half years, both in Opposition and in Government. I believe Britain, under your leadership, has made real progress in transforming the lives and the opportunities of some of the wor1d’s poorest people and that we will continue to do so as we depîoy an expertise and commitment which show Britain at its best.
I now intend to concentrate on serving my constituents in the Royal town of Sutton Coldfield to the best of my ability and giving you the strong support you rightly deserve from all members of the Conservative Party.
Thank you for your letter. I was sorry to receive it, but I understand why you have reached the conclusion you have, and why you have decided to resign from the Government.
I regret that this has become necessary, and am very grateful for all you have done, both in Government and in Opposition - as well as for the kind words in your ìetter.
I am in no doubt that your work in the field of international development has made a really important contribution - not only to the Conservative Party, but more importantly to Britain’s standing in the world, and above all to international efforts to tackle deep and sustained poverty.
You brought real passion to the job in Opposition, which you turned into more than two years of very successful work in Government. You brought immense energy and dedication to the role, a focus on the wor1d’s poorest, and decisive progress on the key issues of vaccination against preventable diseases, maternal health and family planning that make the greatest difference to the greatest number of people. You have also brought a proper accountability and transparency to the Department for International Development’s work.
Under your leadership of the Department, Britain achieved a leading global role, which will be continued as Britain chairs the United Nation’s High Level Panel.
As we discussed in advance of the reshuffle, I wanted you to bring your organisational skill and energy to the important job of Chief Whip. It was clear to me that you had already made a strong start.
As you have acknowledged, the incident in Downing Street was not acceptable and you were right to apologise for it.
You have much to be proud of from your service on the Frontbench both in Opposition and in Government, and your continued service to your constituents in Sutton Coldfield. I hope that, in time, you will be able to make a further Contribution to public life.