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
ebooksNow available in paperback
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
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: Female Support Workers / Carers - From £8.00 per hour

£8 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To assist a young family with the care ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Executive is required...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

£55000 - £70000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world lead...

Argyll Scott International: Commercial Finance Manager

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: My client, a world leading services pr...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines