Chief Whip Mitchell facing growing demands to resign after abusing Downing Street police

Pressure mounts on ‘Thrasher’ as witnesses confirm newspaper story on abusive minister

The Government Chief Whip was facing growing demands to resign tonight after it emerged he had directed a volley of abuse at policemen guarding Downing Street.

Pressure was mounting on Andrew Mitchell as police contradicted his account of the confrontation when Mr Mitchell - nicknamed Thrasher because of his disciplinarian reputation - was stopped from cycling out of the main gates to the Prime Minister’s residence.

The Tory Cabinet minister, who has been in his current post in charge of party discipline for less than three weeks, admitted bawling out the officers and apologised for the tirade. But he strongly denied a report in the Sun that he branded them “f***ing plebs” and said they should “learn your f***ing place”.

However, the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rack-and-file officers in London, backed the newspaper’s account and called for Mr Mitchell to quit.

“I know what the officers have told me, and what was reported in The Sun this morning is absolutely what happened,” said its chairman, John Tully.

“So I think Mr Mitchell needs to address his position and resign as soon as possible. Someone who holds such high office, and who apparently holds the police in such contempt, is not deserving of such high office and he should resign.”

He said at least two other officers and members of the public witnessed the outburst.

As the affair threatened to deal a severe blow to Tory attempts to “detoxify” the party’s image, David Cameron issued a wounding rebuke to his Chief Whip.

Speaking on a visit to Manchester following the murders of Pcs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, the Prime Minister said: “What Andrew Mitchell said and what he did was not appropriate. It was wrong and it is right that he has apologised.

“He has obviously apologised to me, but more importantly he has apologised thoroughly to the police and that needed to be done.”

The clash came on Wednesday when Mr Mitchell tried to wheel his bicycle through the Downing Street gates, but was told he had to use the smaller entrance for pedestrians. The Sun reported him as saying: “I’m the Chief Whip and I’m coming through these gates.”

Mr Mitchell was reported to have raged: “Best you learn your f****** place. You don’t run this f****** Government. You’re f****** plebs.” The newspaper also claimed he described the officers as “morons”.

Tory sources last night said he admitted losing his temper and using intemperate language and had apologised to the officer involved, but strongly denied using the words attributed to them. They added that the Prime Minister was happy with his explanation and regarded the episode as closed.

However, Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said: “No one should treat police officers or public servants in this way. And the idea that a Cabinet minister could behave like this towards police officers doing their job is an utter disgrace. It tells you all you need to know about this out-of-touch Government and its attitude to public servants.”

A Labour spokesman said: “There are two alternatives - either the Chief Whip used appalling and offensive language to an officer going about their duty, or Mr Mitchell is saying the officer is lying. Downing Street will know. They must make the position clear urgently. A half-hearted apology is not enough.”

In a statement on Thursday night Mr Mitchell said: “While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve. I have seen the supervising sergeant and apologised, and will also apologise to the police officer involved.”

Men behaving badly: Six Tory scandals

Sir George Young

Once a minister for Housing and Planning, Sir George was keen to tackle the problem of people living on the streets. Alas, he described the homeless as “the people you step on when you come out of the opera”.

Roger Freeman

In 1992, as the Government was seeking public support for the privatisation of the railways, the Public Transport minister said there should be “cheap and cheerful” trains for people such as typists, with “luxury” travel reserved for civil servants and businessmen.

Nicholas Winterton

Veteran MP Sir Nicholas ignored the public mood over the expenses scandal, saying: “They want to stop members of parliament travelling first class. That puts us below local councillors and officers of local government. They all travel first class…” He described standard class passengers as “a totally different type of people. There’s lots of children, there’s noise, there’s activity”.

Nicholas Soames

Soames infuriated John Prescott by making fun of his working class background as a ship’s steward. “Mine’s a gin and tonic, Giovanni,” he hollered at the former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party across the Commons dining room.

Bernard Weatherill

In his early life, Lord Weatherill worked as a tailor in his father’s business. He became Speaker of the House of Commons in 1983, but on his first day on the job he popped to the lavatory and heard one MP say to another: “I don’t know what this place is coming to, Tom, they’ve got my tailor in here now.”

Hugh Robertson

Mr Robertson was forced to deny that he told security at the Olympic Park’s media centre: “I’m the Olympics minister. You should damn well know who I am,” when he turned up without the proper credentials.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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

Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Female PE Teacher

£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering