UK & World News
Andrew Mitchell: Tory MPs 'Gagged' Over Row
Conservative officials have attempted to clamp down on rumours about Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell in an attempt to save his job.
MPs have been told not to talk to the media about the senior Tory, who is still under pressure after his row with a police officer on September 19.
His position is regarded as increasingly untenable after the mood within the party towards him soured and he stayed away from its conference in Birmingham.
The Chief Whip is meeting police representatives on Friday in what could be a make-or-break summit.
Meanwhile, Tory HQ has told party members not to discuss the row and just say he is "getting on with the job" if they are pressed to comment.
But he has already been openly mocked by Conservative Cabinet ministers amid suggestions that senior figures are privately warning that he can no longer do his job effectively.
As Chief Whip, Mr Mitchell is in charge of keeping discipline within the party - a crucial role at any time and even more so as Prime Minister David Cameron works to keep the Tory right on-side.
With Parliament due to reconvene on Monday, commentators are openly speculating that this weekend would be a good time for him to walk.
In a highly unusual move, the MP for Sutton Coldfield pulled out of the Tory conference after telling friends he feared he would be a "distraction".
He is due to meet members of West Midlands Police Federation on Friday to clear the air, but if the summit unravels it could be the final straw.
The meeting comes after Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith laughed when it was suggested the MP could be sent to be High Commissioner in Rwanda.
The remark, sparked by revelations about the MP's links to dictator Paul Kagame, prompted Mr Duncan Smith to say: "I hear there's no gates."
Former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit told reporters: "I don't think anybody would shed buckets of tears if he was to fall on his sword."
Mr Mitchell has denied calling police "plebs" in the argument, which happened when he tried to leave Downing Street through the main gates.
Mr Cameron made him explain the row face-to-face, but tried to draw a line under the affair after police said they would not be pursuing it.
If the Chief Whip is forced out now - almost a month after the clash - it will raise new questions about Mr Cameron's judgement and his political operation at No 10.
what do you think?
I suppose that somewhere in Somalia there is someone who will do his job for half as much, if not less.
Gordon Brown was fond of saying "We're getting on with the job" and look what happened to him...
He gives £8 million to the Rwanda dictator who wants to slaughter all congolese people and is in fact the worst man in the world . He should now be taken to court and sentenced to life. if Cameron backs him the same should be done to him
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Cameron is a fool in trying to brush this affair under the carpet. Gagging his mp's will not make this go away. He would do better in asking Mitchell to go, as that is the way he is heading anyway. As chief whip he will be an ineffectual laughing stock amongst the tories. Another fine example of Cameron having no idea what to do.
What more proof do you need that Cameron is protecting Mitchell AND his ideals!
Let his bike tyres down, that`ll teach him.