Bob Geldof defends Mitchell in Plebgate case

BOB Geldof has told the High Court that he was a “pleb” but never once was he patronised by former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

Bob Geldof and Andrew Mitchell: 'Unlikely friends'. Picture: PA
Bob Geldof and Andrew Mitchell: 'Unlikely friends'. Picture: PA

The musician and fundraiser has provided written evidence in support of his friend, who is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) for libel over the “Plebgate” incident at Downing Street in September 2012.


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It says that he first met the 58-year-old MP for Sutton Coldfield, who resigned as whip a month after the encounter with Pc Toby Rowland, some years ago - and he considered him one of the more effective ministers he had worked with over the past 30 years.

“I am used to being patronised by ‘my betters’, there was no such nonsense from Mr Mitchell.”

He added: “We became friends because beyond his qualities as a leader and advocate for the less fortunate, I thought he was a good man. We are an unlikely pair of friends.

“I came from a poor Irish, not particularly well educated background and he does not. I am in fact ‘a pleb’ and he is not. Never once in all our time did he patronise me, talk down to me, behave in a superior manner to me, deride, insult or dismiss me or my opinions.

“Nor did I ever find in him the preposterous pantomime patrician and frankly Wodehousian superior manner attributed to him in The Sun and others.

“He is open, frank, truthful, even when at times you wish to hear something other.

“I believe I have a perhaps justified reputation for swearing a bit. It has to be said that on occasion Andrew Mitchell was no slouch either.

“But not once in all of this time did I EVER hear him use the ridiculous and archaic expression ‘pleb’!”

Geldof, who was not in court, said he had already put on record his estimation of Mr Mitchell’s probity as a man, his honesty as a person and his abilities as a professional: “I have not a single shred of doubt that what Andrew Mitchell says is the truth”.

“I have reason to say this for indeed many times I have asked my fellow but doubting activists to trust what Mitchell is saying. That he will, unusually for a politician, do as he says. He has never once let us down.

“This is a truthful, reliable, honest man.”

Mr Mitchell claims that the story at the centre of the case, which NGN says is substantially true, meant he was guilty of launching a grossly offensive and arrogant attack at Downing Street police officers, branding them “f*****g plebs”.

Asked if he had used the words attributed to him by Pc Rowland: “Best you learn your f*****g place - you don’t run this f*****g government - you’re f*****g plebs”, he told Mr Justice Mitting: “I did not say those words. I would never call a policeman a pleb, let alone a f******g pleb.”

He has accepted that he did say, under his breath but audibly: “I thought you lot were supposed to f*****g help us’”, but not at the officer.

Pc Rowland, who is suing Mr Mitchell over statements he made from December 2012 onwards which he says accused him of fabricating his allegations, is due to give evidence later today.

Over a two week hearing, the judge will decide the preliminary issues of the meaning of the words complained of and whether they were substantially true.


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