Mitchell: I was stitched-up in smear campaign
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Sunday 23 December 2012
The Police Federation launched a smear campaign designed to "toxify" the Conservative Party and destroy his political career, Andrew Mitchell has claimed.
In an article in The Sunday Times, the former Government Chief Whip described fully for the first time his version of what he called the "stitch-up" that cost him his job in October after "33 days of continuous press assault".
Mr Mitchell insisted he did not call the Downing Street police officers who refused to let him ride his bike through the gates "f****** plebs" and "morons". He wrote: "I plead guilty to many human failings, but I did not lose my temper and I did not rail against the police. In exasperation I used an expletive. That was it."
The former minister attacked the "vile email", purporting to have been written by a member of the public who witnessed the confrontation. It has now been attributed to a police officer who was not there and CCTV footage of the incident has cast doubt on the official police log.
When David Cameron saw the email, Mr Mitchell revealed, he phoned his Chief Whip and told him to resign. He told the Prime Minister: "David, how will you feel in six weeks if this is exposed for the lie that it is?"
Describing the huge toll the crisis took on him, Mr Mitchell said: "By day four, I could not sleep, I also stopped eating... I lost more than a stone in the first three weeks. Sharon [his wife] lost almost as much."
Mr Mitchell said he did not blame the press or the Opposition. "I do, however, blame police elements for not following the proper complaints procedure… but instead leaking a confidential and inaccurate alleged log."
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