Andrew Mitchell: clear as mud
Mitchell again denied saying “the words that have attributed to me”, and he said he’s being “very clear” about what he said and didn’t say. But what he said can’t have been at all “clear” to the general public watching the live broadcast.
So what actually is Andrew Mitchell’s position?
I understand the following:
He denies using the word “pleb” or “plebs”. He denies using the word “morons”. And he also denies all of the other precise quotes attributed to him in The Sun today.
But Mitchell does admit that he swore, once, as he left the scene on Wednesday night, and said to the policemen something like “I thought you lot were supposed to f****** help us.” And it is because he used the word “f******”, I’m told, that he decided to apologise to the policeman and his sergeant. Mitchell also denies that he lost his temper during the exchanges.
Perhaps the most curious aspect of his statement today was Andrew Mitchell’s claim that last Wednesday had been “a long and extremely frustrating day”. It’s hard to see why it was so “frustrating” when parliament wasn’t sitting that day, no votes were happening, and there were no immediate political pressures. Indeed it should have been a quiet time for the chief whip last week since the Commons wasn’t due to return for almost another four weeks.
Today the Sun publishes quotations from a “report” it has seen of what the two policemen involved say about what Mitchell said and did. I understand that this report is in fact an email, and not the police officers’ actual statement or statements. This email has also been seen by the police federation, and the document may well emerge in public before long.
Many people are urging Andrew Mitchell to come up with a full account of what he did say, but he’s determined not to do this as he thinks it will only inflame the situation, and that he’d be unlikely to win a PR battle between himself and two police officers. He is spending today seeing lots of colleagues about ordinary government business.
Mitchell’s friends believe this is all being “stirred” and “whipped up” by the police federation for political purposes, and they point out how the Leveson inquiry has exposed the close links between the Sun newspaper and the police.
Now the Metropolitan Police has announced that its directorate of professional standards is investigating how the quotes from the police officers’ statements made their way into The Sun.
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