Plebgate uncovered: What we still don’t know

  • @oliver_wright

Q. Why has a police officer been arrested over the Mitchell affair?

A. At first it was assumed the police were being heavy handed in arresting the officer they believed had leaked the story of Andrew Mitchell’s altercation to newspapers.

But it is now understood that an officer contacted his local MP (and Deputy Chief Whip John Randall) posing as a civilian witness  who happened to be passing Downing Street at the time.

If true it could amount to an attempt to “stitch up” Mr Mitchell by providing supposedly independent corroborating evidence to the police account. But even if he lied about his profession, it is still unknown whether he was at Downing Street in an off-duty capacity at the time.

Q. What role has the Deputy Chief Whip played in the affair?

A. Randall passed on the allegation to No 10 and advised his constituent to contact the police.

Q. Who is telling the truth?

A. Mr Mitchell has always insisted he never called a Downing Street protection officer a “pleb”. Despite the arrest, Met Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe said he had no information which contradicted the police officer’s version of events as recorded in the police log.

Q. Can Mitchell make a comeback?

A. He has told friends he wants to clear his name and his interview yesterday was the first step in that process. What is much less clear is whether Mr Cameron wants him back in Government.