Plebgate row: Andrew Mitchell calls for full disclosure of misconduct hearings

Former chief whip claims police officer boasted she could 'topple the Tory Government'

Ian Johnston
Wednesday 21 May 2014 11:04 BST
Former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell outside his north London home
Former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell outside his north London home (Getty Images)

A police officer on duty in Downing Street on the night of the “Plebgate” affair boasted she could “topple the Tory Government” in a message to a friend, according former Conservative chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell made the claim in a letter to Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of the Metropolitan Police, in which he argued the force should release the transcripts of disciplinary hearings against officers involved in the case.

The affair erupted in 2012 when Mr Mitchell asked officers to open the main Downing Street gate so he could cycle through. On being told this was not possible, he was alleged to have angrily berating them, saying: “You don't run this f***ing government... You're f***ing plebs.”

However doubts began to emerge about the police version of events. Three police officers have been sacked and one of them was sent to prison over a false claim that he had witnessed the row. Two other officers are still facing disciplinary action.

In his letter to Sir Bernard, Mr Mitchell said full disclosure of the misconduct hearings would show that other officers lied about the confrontation, despite what the MP called “police leaks” claiming otherwise, according to a report by Channel 4 News.

The letter contains details of some of the evidence heard at the hearings, which Mr Mitchell attended.

He said a police officer had texted her friend two days after the incident to say: “I can topple the Tory Government.”

She also sent a text saying, “the Fed need our help”. The Police Federation was in a dispute with the Government over working conditions.

Mr Mitchell also urged Scotland Yard to release previously unseen CCTV footage from the night in question.

“Surely it must be right to release the CCTV and let the public and journalists draw their own conclusions from what it shows,” Mitchell said in the letter.

“I am deeply concerned that if any of this information is withheld, and any hint of a cover-up is left in the public mind, a signal will be sent that the police can get away with doing this to people who would have NO chance to fight back and public confidence will be yet further undermined.”

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said information given during misconduct hearings was “treated as confidential”.

“However, the MPS has already stated publicly that a report detailing the Operation Alice investigation will be published in due course. We also intend to publish the summary reports from the chair of the gross misconduct boards,” it said.

“There are still outstanding gross misconduct hearings. To ensure that these important hearings are not jeopardised through abuse of process we will not comment any further until they have concluded.”

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