Plebgate row: PC Keith Wallis admits misconduct over lies about Andrew Mitchell

Prime Minister condemns false statement that cost Andrew Mitchell his job

Whitehall Editor

David Cameron on Friday condemned the “completely unacceptable” behaviour of one of his Downing Street protection officers whose lies led to the resignation of a cabinet minister.

PC Keith Wallis faces a possible jail sentence after admitting he had fabricated an email claiming to be a member of the public who witnessed Andrew Mitchell insulting police officers during a row at the gate of Downing Street.

Wallis had not been present during the altercation in September 2012, but his email to the Conservative deputy chief whip, John Randall, alleging Mr Mitchell had called the officers “plebs” undermined the Prime Minister’s support for Mr Mitchell and contributed to his eventual resignation.

On Friday, after Wallis admitted misconduct in public office, the head of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, formally apologised to Mr Mitchell.

“Where officers break the law they must expect to be held to account and answer for what they have done,” he said. “To lie about witnessing something and provide a false account falls way below the standards that I expect of police officers [and] negatively impacts upon public trust and confidence in the integrity of police officers.”

Andrew Mitchell accused the police of misleading Andrew Mitchell, riding his bike that was part of the original cause of the 'Plebgate' affair

Wallis, from the Metropolitan Police Diplomatic Protection Group, was arrested following a police investigation into the so-called “Plebgate” affair. The court heard that he admitted the offence in a police interview and offered to resign.

Andrew Mitchell's 'plebgate' bike sells at auction for £10,600  

Mr Justice Sweeney adjourned sentencing until 6 February pending psychiatric reports. He released Wallis on unconditional bail but warned him that “all sentencing options remain open”.

Speaking after the guilty plea, Mr Mitchell said: “I am pleased that justice has been done in a criminal court. It is very sad and worrying for all of us that a serving police officer should have behaved in this way. There remain many questions unanswered; in particular why Wallis wrote this email and who else was involved in this process.” 

Last month the Police Federation confirmed that the officer at the centre of the row intended to sue Mr Mitchell. PC Toby Rowland issued a letter of claim for libel against the politician, who had accused him of lying over the affair.

Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell resigns over 'Plebgate'  

It was PC Rowland’s account of the altercation that included the inflammatory word “plebs”, which Mr Mitchell has always denied using. Prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to charge PC Rowland with any criminal offence.

Mr Mitchell previously said he hoped the officer would give evidence under oath as part of the libel proceedings against The Sun. PC Rowland said he stood by his account.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Cameron said he was pleased justice had been done. “It is completely unacceptable for a serving police officer to falsify an account of any incident,” he said. “Andrew Mitchell has consistently denied the version of events presented in the email and I welcome the fact that the officer concerned has now pleaded guilty.”

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which has held several evidence sessions on the affair, said: “With 11 other officers being subject to misconduct hearings, and the further investigation by the IPCC, this appears to be a complete vindication of Mr Mitchell’s position.” 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Emily McDowell Card that reads:
artCancer survivor Emily McDowell kicks back at the clichés
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvBadalamenti on board for third series
Life and Style
Standing room only: the terraces at Villa Park in 1935
Ben Stokes celebrates with his team mates after bowling Brendon McCullum
sportEngland vs New Zealand report
Amal Clooney has joined the legal team defending 'The Hooden Men'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine