This afternoon the three police officers at the centre of the ‘Plebgate’ row appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee. Inspector Ken MacKaill, Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones gave evidence regarding the meeting they had with Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell in October, after the original ‘Plebgate’ incident. The content of the meeting which the police officers reported to the media differed to that of Mr Mitchell’s secret recording of the meeting.
Keith Vaz quizzed the officers with particular panache, probing for whether there was the “slightest doubt between what you said in the meeting and what was said in the media?”
Sergeant Chris Jones stutteringly replied that the officers wished to apologise to the public for going to the press, however they did not feel they needed to apologise to Mitchell.
This was despite Deborah Glass, Deputy Chair of the IPCC, saying “it is not a case for misconduct, it is a case of gross misconduct.” The officers were accused of deliberately bringing down “a senior member of the government” because of the government austerity measures. They were also accused of ending the meeting “in time for the 6 o’clock news”.
#Plebgate was trending on Twitter for most of the afternoon with little sympathy being shown for the police officers:
Someone needs to take the spade of these senior police officers before they dig themselves a bigger hole. #plebgateAnt B (@esclad) October 23, 2013
I bet they're wishing they could just keep repeating 'no comment'. Painful to watch #PlebgateAn Ipswich Tory (@StokeParkCllr) October 23, 2013
Bloody scary that these police are still serving officers. #plebgateStephen R Jones (@Meliden) October 23, 2013
These 3 'officers' from Police Fed basically saying black is white. MPs on Home Affairs Cttee getting stuck in; evisceration #plebgatePeter Bottomley (@pjbottomley) October 23, 2013
Others continued to show anger towards the government and the IPCC:
Is it me or have IPCC seemed to have turned around #plebgate investigation much quicker than other cases - i.e. Mark Duggan. Priorities?Cosimo Montagu (@CosimoMontagu) October 23, 2013