Andrew Mitchell said 'plebs', according to police log
Tuesday 25 September 2012
The official police log of Andrew Mitchell's angry confrontation with Downing Street police records the Chief Whip describing officers as “plebs”.
A 442-word account of the incident, published for the first time by The Daily Telegraph, records Mr Mitchell repeatedly refusing to comply with police requests and then swearing at officers.
The embattled Chief Whip has apologised for not treating the police with respect but denies using the words he is reported as saying.
In his apology yesterday he blamed his behaviour on having had "a long and extremely frustrating day".
But The Sun newspaper claims he spent part of that day enjoying lunch at an upmarket Westminster curry house, the Cinnamon Club.
Ex-government adviser George McGregor told The Sun he was dining at the restaurant at the time near Mr Mitchell, and said: "He didn't seem to be having a long and frustrating day to me."
The Telegraph's publication of the police log bolsters the officers' account of the exchange and will place further pressure on Mr Mitchell.
The report describes Mr Mitchell speaking to a female officer and "demanding exit through the main vehicle gate into Whitehall".
He was told that it was "policy" for cyclists to use the pedestrian gate.
"Mr Mitchell refused, stating he was the chief whip and he always used the main gates," the report goes on.
"I explained to Mr Mitchell that the policy was to use the side pedestrian gates and that I was happy to open those for him, but that no officer present would be opening the main gates as this was the policy we were directed to follow.
"Mr Mitchell refused. Repeatedly reiterating he was the chief whip... After several refusals Mr Mitchell got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him.
"There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr Mitchell said: 'Best you learn your ******* place...you don't run this ******* government...You're ******* plebs.'
"The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official. I can not say if this statement was aimed at me individually, or the officers present or the police service as a whole."
The log states that the officer warned Mr Mitchell that he could be arrested for swearing.
"I warned Mr Mitchell that he should not swear, and if he continued to do so I would have no option but to arrest him under the Public Order Act, saying 'Please don't swear at me Sir. If you continue to I will have no option but to arrest you under the public order act'," it states.
"Mr Mitchell was then silent and left saying 'you haven't heard the last of this' as he cycled off."
The police officer who wrote the report stresses that officers were "extremely polite" to the Chief Whip.
Mr Mitchell appeared before television cameras yesterday to reiterate his regret over the incident.
But he pointedly refused to answer questions about whether he had branded the police "plebs" - as their leaked written records of the exchange suggest.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood said last night he agreed with Prime Minister David Cameron that there would not be "any purpose" in a probe after Mr Mitchell apologised for the incident.
In a letter to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, the civil servant wrote: "There clearly remains a genuine difference of view about what words were actually used.
"But Andrew Mitchell has acknowledged that his words and behaviour were inappropriate and he failed to show proper respect for the police."
Sir Jeremy revealed that the head of security at Number 10 and the Prime Minister's principal private secretary Chris Martin had spoken to the police sergeant involved.
"The Prime Minister spoke to Andrew Mitchell and made very clear that his behaviour fell short of what he expects of his ministers," the mandarin wrote.
"(Mr Mitchell) then phoned the police officer in question to apologise personally and he has since reiterated his apology in public. The officer has accepted his apology."
Sir Jeremy went on: "I have subsequently discussed the matter with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe. Like the Prime Minister he is obviously very disappointed at the lack of respect shown towards the police and agrees that the behaviour fell short of what the police should expect, in particular from members of the Government.
"However, in light of the apology given, and also the fact that the officer concerned has accepted the apology and does not wish to pursue the matter further, the Metropolitan Commissioner reiterated that no further action would be taken.
"Given these circumstances neither the Prime Minister nor I see any purpose in a further investigation."
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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