12 Oct 2012

Police call for Mitchell sacking after meeting

The chairman of the West Mercia branch of the Police Federation says Andrew Mitchell’s position as the Conservative chief whip is untenable and the minister has no option but to resign.

Following a 40 minute meeting with Mr Mitchell over his alleged “pleb” insult to a police officer in Downing Street, Ken Mackaill said they were no further forward but they appreciated the chance to meet the minister.

Despite the meeting, he said if Mr Mitchell continued to challenge the accuracy of police records, David Cameron should sack him.

Andrew Mitchell refused to tell the federation what exactly was said outside to officers in Downing Street, according to Mr Mackaill, who said Mr Mitchell remained tight lipped as “he did not want to impugn officers’ integrity and start a ‘firefight’ with police.”

However Mr Mackaill admitted that is exactly what has happened.

“Our concerns have not been addressed” he added.

‘Profound apology’

Ken Mackaill said Mr Mitchell repeated a “profound apology, but that is balanced by his denial of specific and precise speech recorded by police at the time”.

Mr Mitchell has apologised for his outburst but denied using the word “plebs”, in a move that has angered some rank-and-file officers.

Mr Cameron has called for a line to be drawn under the affair and senior police figures have indicated it is time to move on.

However, the row continued at Conservative Party conference despite Mr Mitchell’s no-show, with Mr Cameron and senior politicians repeatedly pressed for clarification of what was said.

At a fringe meeting during the conference Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) president Sir Hugh Orde suggested his organisation be renamed Police Leadership Executive Board, Pleb for short.

Police officers wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “PC Pleb and Proud” protested outside Mr Mitchell’s constituency office last month demanding a full inquiry.