Mitchell: I was stitched-up by officials who hid evidence

 

Andrew Mitchell, the former Government Chief Whip at the centre of the “plebgate” scandal, will tonight accuse Downing Street officials of covering-up evidence showing he did not abuse police.

The 56-year-old Conservative MP was forced to resign in October, a month after officers who stopped him wheeling his bicycle out of Downing Street’s main gates accused him of describing them as “f *****g plebs”.

He will tell Channel 4 Dispatches tonight that Cabinet Office officials tried to stop him accessing the CCTV footage which appeared to show he had not been involved in a furious  exchange with officers in September, thereby contradicting police accounts.

He admits swearing but is adamant he never used the word “plebs”.

Mr Mitchell claims he asked to see the crucial footage on 19 October but was forced to wait almost three weeks.

“I think Downing Street wanted this to go away. They really wanted me to lie low and let them get on with running the country but I couldn’t do that,” he says. “I couldn’t wake up every morning for the rest of my life knowing I had been stitched-up.”

In tonight’s interview Mr Mitchell will go on to claim the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, tried to stop him seeing the CCTV on the grounds of national security.

“I do not think the arguments about national security were genuine, no,” he says.

Further doubts on the police’s version of events were cast after it emerged that an email from an eyewitness backing their story had been sent by an officer who was not in Downing Street at the time.

Mr Mitchell claims that had the CCTV and email been released earlier he may still be in Government.

The CCTV showed no signs of a  furious argument, nor did it show a members of the public watching the alleged confrontation, as claimed.

The Commons Public Administration Select Committee has already said Mr Mitchell could have kept his job if Sir Jeremy had spent more time scrutinising the events.

Dispatches will claim the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the police investigation into the incident “had been concluded” in December, shortly before the CCTV images emerged.

Days later, a 52-year-old constable from the Diplomatic Protection Group, whose duties involve guarding Downing Street, was arrested.

Scotland Yard launched another investigation into the events, known as Operation Alice, with  30 officers involved. Two further arrests have been made including that of a 46-year-old member of the Diplomatic Protection Group who was present in Downing Street during the incident.

The woman was arrested on suspicion of “unauthorised disclosure of information to the media” on Friday.

The Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, has been vocal in its fierce criticism of Mr Mitchell.

Today the body’s vice-chairman Steve White attempted to distance the organisation from the comments. “The national Police Federation accepted Andrew Mitchell’s apology and we wanted to move on,” he said.

Dispatches: Plebs, Lies & Videotape is broadcast tonight at 8pm.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas