Friday 20 April 2018

Chief whip quits over policeman 'pleb' controversy

Daniel Bentley in London

British Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell finally fell on his sword after admitting that the row over his confrontation with Downing Street police made his position untenable.

After weeks of criticism, jibes and speculation over his future, Mr Mitchell last night said it was not fair to put his colleagues and family through such "damaging" stories any longer.

He insisted in a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron that he had not referred to an officer on the gate in Downing Street as either a "pleb" or a "moron" but acknowledged delivering, after being told he could not ride his bike through the main gates, the parting line: "I thought you guys were supposed to f****** help us."

Mr Mitchell has desperately clung to his position amid a mounting clamour over the past month for him to go.

He did not attend last week's Conservative Party conference in Birmingham -- neighbouring his Sutton Coldfield constituency -- after admitting that his presence would be a distraction.

George Young was last night appointed government chief whip.

The appointment averts the need for Mr Cameron to make any further changes because Mr Young does not currently hold a ministerial post.

Mr Mitchell sought - and failed - to win over Police Federation members by meeting them in his constituency and trying to explain his actions. Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the pressure when MPs returned to Westminster this week, calling him "toast" during Prime Minister's Questions.

Irish Independent

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