Analysis: Depression, panic attacks – but then Mr Mitchell vowed to clear his name

Friends' View

In the days following his resignation as Conservative Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell suffered from depression, panic attacks and almost stepped down as an MP, friends disclosed yesterday.

“He was waking up in the  middle of the night with the events playing over and over again in his head,” said one.

“He thought his reputation was ruined forever. When he was out in public he thought everyone was looking at him and thinking ‘there goes that lying toff’.”

It was his wife Sharon, a GP, who persuaded him that despite having resigned he should still do all he could to clear his name.

Political friends suggested that he should try and get access to the CCTV footage of the night which, under the Data Protection Act, he had a right to see.

Before he resigned he had been told by Downing Street officials that the footage was inconclusive, as it was impossible to make out what had been said. But given the very specific allegations in the leaked Downing Street police log – might it be possible to undermine the case being made against him?

The request went in and, along with a friend, he went to the Cabinet Office to watch the footage with Sue Gray, the Government’s Director of Propriety and Ethics, who along with Sir Jeremy Heywood, had originally been asked to investigate the allegations. “She was very helpful and kind,” the friend said. “But he still put himself through torture doing it – it brought it all up again watching the films.”

But what the films showed did in fact cast serious questions over the police version of events. Not only were there very few people outside Downing Street – and certainly no one lingering and watching the confrontation – but there appeared to be other discrepancies as well.

“You could clearly see Andrew pushing his bicycle towards and out through the pedestrian gate and he doesn’t seem to be even looking at the policeman. But if you accept the police log then supposedly at that point the officer is threatening him with arrest. It just doesn’t seem very likely.”

Mr Mitchell was able to secure copies of the CCTV footage, which he took to the chief political correspondent of Channel 4 News Michael Crick.

Crick began investigating and along with the emails from the purported member of the public also in Mr Mitchell’s possession, they began to uncover the alleged conspiracy that led to the arrest.

“This was always about three things,” said the friend. “Clearing Andrew’s name, restoring his self-respect and getting him back into Government. I think we’ve pretty much done the first two but the last one is not down to us.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Ashdown Group: Senior .Net Developer - Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A long-established, technology rich ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable