Plebgate: Police officers endure public dressing down after being called to face MPs again

'If... I failed to recognise the meaning of the questions I was asked then I apologise' says Sgt Chris Jones

Deputy Political Editor

Two police officers endured a public dressing-down today as they were summoned back to the Commons to apologise to MPs for giving them misleading evidence over their role in the "plebgate" affair.

They admitted giving misleading evidence to a parliamentary committee which is investigating claims they, along with a third officer, tried to discredit the former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

Sgt Chris Jones, of West Midlands Police, was hauled back to explain why he had not disclosed the existence of 13 complaints against him.

Det Sgt Stuart Hinton, of Warwickshire Police, was challenged over why he denied referring to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, as "that woman" in a meeting with Mr Mitchell when a recording confirmed he had used the words.

The men, along with Insp Ken MacKaill of West Mercia Police, are representatives of the Police Federation which was locked in a dispute with Mr Mitchell last year over claims he referred to officers in Downing Street as "plebs".

The former Chief Whip, who has always denied the claim, met the three men last year behind closed doors in his West Midlands constituency.

They emerged to tell waiting camera crews he had refused to give an account of the Downing Street encounter, but their version of events was contradicted by a secret recording of the encounter made by Mr Mitchell.

MPs on the home affairs select committee investigating the episode registered their anger over apparent discrepancies in the evidence they received when Mr Jones and Mr Hinton appeared before them last month.

When Mr Jones was asked whether any complaints had been made against him, he insisted there was none.

It later transpired he had faced 13 complaints in his career, two of which resulted in him receiving "management advice".

They involved one claim involving use of force when he pushed someone in the back while off duty and another about his performance when he submitted the wrong CCTV video as an exhibit.

Mr Jones told the MPs today he had misunderstood the question, believing he had been asked whether he had faced a complaint specifically about the Mitchell meeting.

"I do not believe that my answers misled the committee. If however I failed to recognise the meaning of the questions I was asked then I apologise," he said.

Mr Hinton had denied referring to Mrs May as "that woman" during the meeting, but he told the MPs he now accepted he had used the phrase.

"I inadvertently gave an inaccurate answer," he said. "There was no intention to mislead the committee. I repeat my unqualified apology to the committee for this inaccuracy."

Asked whether he wished to apologise to Mr Mitchell and his family for the distress caused, Mr Hinton replied: "For the distress caused. I can't apologise for something that I haven't done and there are other accusations that I totally refute."

Mr Jones said: "I can't apologise for something that I haven't done, but I do regret the disproportionate distress it has caused his family."

Dame Anne Owers, the chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, told the MPs that it would stage its own investigation into claims the two officers misled the committee.

It will be conducted alongside the IPCC's inquiry into the Police Federation's meeting with Mr Mitchell.

She said: "We are going to wrap all of this up together. The question of what the officers did or didn't say in front of this committee is a relatively simple matter to deal with. We anticipate that we will be able to complete both investigations this side of Christmas."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Life and Style
Visitors look at a drone equipped with cameras on a police car at the Gitex Technology week in Dubai
tech
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
i100
News
people
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

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

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?