Still no relief for Mitchell as police insist he has to go

 

Andrew Mitchell must either resign or David Cameron should sack him, Police Federation leaders said tonight after talks failed to resolve the row over his abuse of a Downing Street protection officer.

During the meeting Mr Mitchell refused to tell the union, which represents rank-and-file officers, what he had said during the confrontation last month. Doing so would only start another “firefight”, he reportedly said.

But his refusal to admit that he had used the word “pleb” led the federation to demand Mr Mitchell’s resignation. By continuing to deny using the term he was questioning the word of the officer involved, the union said.

Mr Mitchell was reported by police side to have been “tense” and “upset” when challenged as to whether Downing Street PC was lying.

Ken Mackaill, chairman of the West Mercia Police Federation, said the Chief Whip had “refused to tell us what he did say” because he did not want to “impugn the integrity” of the police officer and start what Mr Mitchell described as a “firefight”.

He added: “But unfortunately that’s exactly what’s happened.

“We reached an impasse on the integrity issue. Andrew Mitchell’s position is untenable. If he won’t resign, I don’t think Mr Cameron has an option.”

The meeting came as Labour stepped up its attacks on Mr Mitchell.

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, said the time had passed for clarifications and apologies. Labour has previously raised questions over Mr Mitchell’s ability to stay in his post, which he gained in last month’s reshuffle, but have stopped short of calling for his resignation or for Mr Cameron to sack him.

Some suggested their intervention now was actually an attempt to push Mr Cameron into backing him – knowing that if he stays in post he will find it hard to impose party discipline among already truculent backbench Tory MPs.

Some senior Cabinet members have suggested that Mr Mitchell’s position is untenable because of his role in imposing party discipline. But he is said to be “clinging on” in the hope that the row fades.

Ms Cooper said: “This has gone on long enough. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Chief Whip have proved capable of coming clean swiftly and putting this right. David Cameron needs to put an end to this now and remove Andrew Mitchell from his position.”

Mr Cameron has called for a line to be drawn under the affair following Mr Mitchell’s earlier apologies. Senior police figures have also suggested it was time to move on.

But rank-and-file officers remain angry that Mr Mitchell continues to dispute the language the officers reported that he used, most controversially calling them “plebs”.

Last month, police officers wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “PC Pleb and Proud” protested outside Mr Mitchell’s constituency office demanding a full inquiry.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Mr Mitchell had to “explain himself” to the Police Federation.

He sidestepped questions on BBC Radio 5 Live about whether he gave Mr Mitchell his full backing, but said: “I hear he’s talking to the Police Federation today where I have no doubt he and the Police Federation will want to, I hope, clear the air, draw a line under it.” Mr Clegg said he had “no idea” what was said between Mr Mitchell and the officer on the gate.

“There seems to be competing claims about what was and wasn’t said. What I do know just from hearing about it is it was really wrong to be rude to a police officer literally just standing there in Downing Street doing his job. I think what he did was wrong, really wrong. He’s got to explain himself to the Police Federation, as he is today.”

Resign or be sacked, demand police

Its website boasts that it can “release” your “stress and tension and increase your energy levels”, and it is “a wonderful place to relax and unwind”.

So perhaps it was appropriate that the beleaguered Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell chose to open The Holistic Practice in his Sutton Coldfield constituency today, before his ill-fated showdown with representatives of the Police Federation.

Mr Mitchell may want to return after the encounter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'