'Thrasher' Mitchell: The stern disciplinarian and quintessential Tory

Profile: He was a prefect at Rugby School and is one of the wealthier members of a wealthy Cabinet

As the Government's new Chief Whip, Andrew "Thrasher" Mitchell's task is to inject discipline into the fractious ranks of Tory MPs frustrated with the compromises of coalition. But his astonishing outburst at the police officers guarding the Downing Street gates reveals an embarrassing lack of self-restraint by the man charged with knocking his backbenchers into shape.

And any episode that reinforces perceptions of a Conservative leadership dominated by a narrow and privileged social circle has the potential to inflict lasting damage on the party.

It is also a wounding personal blow to Mr Mitchell, who worked hard, with his charity wristbands and regular trips to Rwanda, to reinvent his political image during his two-year spell as International Development Secretary.

Originally on the party's right – he ran David Davis's ill-fated leadership campaign against Mr Cameron in 2005 – he became close to the Prime Minister and later turned into a passionate advocate of coalition government.

Mr Cameron rewarded him in this month's reshuffle with the key post of Chief Whip, partly in response to a reputation for an authoritarian streak which dates back decades. Mr Mitchell admits to being a "stern disciplinarian" from his time as a prefect at Rugby School, although he credits Private Eye with coining the nickname.

According to one Westminster rumour, he is known to some special advisers as "BSD" after telling DfID officials he was a "big swinging d***".

Mr Mitchell is the fourth generation of his family to serve as an MP, and has the quintessential Tory background: Cambridge, a spell in the Army and merchant banking before arriving in the Commons aged just 31.

The only blip came when he lost his Nottinghamshire seat in the Blair landslide, but he returned four years later as MP for Sutton Coldfield. One of the wealthier members of a wealthy Cabinet, he divides his time between a London townhouse, a constituency home and a villa in the ski resort of Val d'Isere.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before