UK & World News
Plebgate: Probe Looks At Police Conspiracy
Police have widened their probe into the Andrew Mitchell "plebgate" row amid allegations that a police officer tried to "blacken" the politician's name.
Some 30 officers are now working on the investigation and will look at claims the officer posed as a member of the public and falsely claimed to have witnessed the argument.
Scotland Yard confirmed it will also be examining whether there was any sort of "conspiracy" to smear the then Tory Chief Whip as part of a "large scale and complex investigation".
The row was revived after claims the officer wrote an email to his local MP giving details of of Mr Mitchell's behaviour when he was prevented from cycling through the Downing Street gates.
There are also fresh questions after CCTV footage of the altercation on September 19 emerged and appeared to conflict with the official police version of events.
David Cameron said at PMQs: "A police officer posing as a member of the public and sending an email potentially to blacken the name of a Cabinet minister is a very serious issue and does need to be seriously investigated.
"The Metropolitan Police Service is conducting a thorough and well-resourced investigation to get to the truth of this matter as quickly as possible.
"The Independent Police Complaints Commission will be supervising the investigation and I think we should allow them to get to the truth."
Mr Mitchell, who eventually quit in October after a month under intense pressure, has claimed he was the victim of a "stitch-up" and is demanding a full inquiry.
In an earlier statement, Number 10 described allegations that an officer pretending to be a bystander and had fabricated evidence as "exceptionally serious".
Scotland Yard has vowed to establish the truth "as quickly as possible" but warned "the investigation will not be short".
Mr Mitchell was thrust to the centre of a political storm three months ago when a police report about his rant at the Downing Street officer was leaked to the press.
It claimed the senior Tory had warned the policeman: "Best you learn your f****** place. You don't run this f****** government. You're f****** plebs."
The politician has always denied using the word "plebs", although he did admit swearing and getting angry. Instead, he claims he said: "I thought you guys were supposed to f****** help us."
But the "pleb" claim was seized on by the Police Federation and Labour who demanded that he stand down.
The email, now known to be from a fellow police officer, allegedly helped fuel the row and keep up the momentum that eventually cost Mr Mitchell his job.
The policeman wrote to his MP John Randall, apparently not disclosing his job and describing how he had been walking past Downing Street with his nephew when the spat happened.
It suggested Mr Mitchell had sworn repeatedly and called the officers "plebs", as well as claiming passers-by near the gates had been shocked.
The account closely matched the official police log's version of events, which was eventually leaked and published in full by the press.
Mr Cameron summoned his Chief Whip after being told about the email and suggested he had been "caught bang to rights", according to an investigation by Channel 4 News.
When Mr Mitchell flatly denied key parts, the Prime Minister ordered an investigation but this failed to establish who sent the email.
It emerged only when the officer was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office last week.
Contacted by Channel 4 News, the individual seemed to admit that he had never been present when the row happened.
Mr Cameron was said to be "furious" when he found out.
Previously unreleased CCTV footage of the clash also showed no evidence of passers-by who could be a man with his nephew.
The video, which has no sound, shows Mr Mitchell talking to three officers by the main gate for around 20 seconds before wheeling his bicycle to the side gate and leaving.
Clips from other cameras suggest there were few members of the public close by at the time - apparently contradicting the police log.
Mr Mitchell said: "'Three phrases were hung around my neck for 28 days and used to destroy my political career and toxify the Conservative Party.
'They are completely untrue - I never said them. I have never called someone a f****** pleb and never would.
"I always knew that the emails were false, although extremely convincing. It has shaken my lifelong support and confidence in the police.
"I believe now there should be a full inquiry so we can get to the bottom of this."
Met Police Chief Bernard Hogan-Howe, speaking before Channel 4 broadcast its programme, said he did not think the new revelations "affected the original account of officers at the scene".
But Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "These are very serious allegations that must be investigated with all possible urgency.
"An allegation that a serving police officer posed as a member of the public whilst fabricating evidence is a matter of the utmost gravity."
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, suggested the police watchdog or the HM Inspectorate of Police should investigate the affair instead of Scotland Yard.
"There is clearly a need for a robust, transparent and comprehensive investigation," he said.
John Tully, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF), said: "The serious allegations aired in the Channel 4 News report are of concern to the MPF.
"However, as this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to make further comment, other than to say we support a full and thorough investigation to establish the truth."
Former Tory leader Michael Howard said he was "appalled" by the claims and hoped Mr Mitchell would be back in Government "at the earliest opportunity".
The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister's view remains that he hopes in time Mr Mitchell will be able to return to public life."
what do you think?
There is a rather unpleasant smell about this and it is not all emanating from Andrew Mitchell
so it appears this took some motive and planning. did the tory treat the police with contemptuous attitude for a period of time and they set him up by closing the road gate that he liked to use,thus provoking a reaction? ahhh....whatever he deserves what he got anyway.
Kelly You are letting political bias cloud your judgement. Tell that to the magistrate if and when you are convicted on a motoring charge and the only evidence offered is a coppers word against yours
"Whatever he deserves what he got anyway" Says it all really...
Kelly so you support coruption by the police? Or are you just jealous of him having more power & money than you?
Movvi. Worse than that criminal in much the same way as the lies told after hillsboro.
I think you are being silly saying naughty Movvi and Lucien... Wicked and dangerous comes to my mind.
Yes indeed Dave. I have just seen the report on Channel 4 and this stinks. If this police officer did indeed send an email falsely claiming he was an eyewitness to the event in question, then he needs to be made an example of and he should receive a severe custodial sentence. But is there something more behind this? Why would the police be bothered about a trivial incident and why would they go to the trouble of having a friendly bobby write that email? What motive did the emailing bobby have, if he did indeed write that false email? People will say this is complete rubbish and we need to be concentrating on more important issues. But if our police are indeed writing false allegations about MPs, what chance do we have? Though I have little respect for our MPs, this IS important.
Lucien. Look no further than the way the police federation milked this for all it was worth with their advertising boards and pleb T shirts
So do you think Dave that this is just the police having a go at the Tories because of the cuts and these new police commisionars etc. Although I cannot stand these politicians, this is unacceptable. It is quitre clear that we cannot trust the police now.
Lucien. Not just the Tories. I think it is the police looking after their own interests and pursuing their own agenda above everything else. And lets face it they have form Hillsboro, Charles de Menenzies, Mark Duggan to name a few
Lucien..... It isnt just the Tories that the police tell lies about. Where have you been all these years? I dont think it is trivial that a man is forced to resign from his job..... we just dont know the complete truth but it certainly looks in Mr Mitchells favour right now. We of course have to give both sides the benefit of the doubt however I am not in the slightest surprised to hear of police making false statements.
So not only do we have police officers leaking to the press, (they sign the Official Secrets Act so it's illegal) now it seems some of them are liars as well (i know, shocking!). Are they not supposed to be apolitical?
The police haven't been apolitical for years. ACPO regularly lobby MPS and Ministers on political issues and get away with it. Myself and others have complained about this illegal practice and got nowhere - it continues unabated.
Phil. By the look of this they have taken their political manipulation onto another level.
This comment has been removed for violations of our Terms and Conditions.
the external cctv footage shown here doesnt show mitchell leaving and the girl in red and someone else walking past in the footage from inside are nowhere to be seen.
I know who I believe, and it's not the slimy person in the suit. Rob.
Why? Mitchell is not a very nice person but if the police are making things up to suit there purposes we are not on a slippery slope we are already over the edge.
Is anyone surprised ???? Police are a law unto themselves
Dave. Lets wait for the enquiry although they do have form - Hillsboro, Charles de Menezies, Mark Duggan. I am a supporter of the police who have a lousy job to do but this is a very worrying development
Again it seems malice is emanating from the police.
"Whatever he deserves what he got anyway Mitchell used Foul and Abusive language which he admits too! He tried to use his so called authority to break the rules. He admits to both the above. His call for a full investigation is suspect and will result in the Tax payer having to pay out more money to prove WHAT? He was guilty by his own admission and he should now shut up and move on. Any Police matters re false evidence or disclosure is their issue to sort within the legal system and does not merit Mitchell being given Headline news as if he was innocent! The language he used towards the police (Which he has admitted) was far more offensive than the isolated use of the word Pleb (If it was used?) and if a member of the general public had used the same, would more than likely have resulted in an arrest.
Hi Heather you do indeed have a point. I think however if Jo public used the F word to a police officer, he would not be arrested unless he used it constantly. Too much paperwork.
Heather. Mitchell is a pratt and you make valid points. My concern is the bigger issue of police fabricating evidence which effects us all. I hope you will be as happy to overlook this issue should you ever be convicted on the basis of police statements which you dispute
Heather agrees with a coruption in the police..........brilliant. you just hate him at any cost, no justice for anyone you hate.
Andrew Mitchell resigned, admitting he behaved badly ! He denies however that he swore or used the word " plebs " ! So, what did he do that was bad ?
about time all the police protection officers threw in their firearms tickets and stopped protecting them.that would also save loads of money (as they earn loads in overtime) and put more bobbies back on the beat.
I don't believe it the police making up story's and blatantly telling lies never the police are pillars of society. A policemans word will always be believed before yours. This is not the first or last time are police have shown how corrupt they are
Paul. The make up of the police service is a mirror of society in which we live. Good, bad & indifferent. This sort of thing does seem to be more prevalent these days and it does a great diservice to the many good hard working cops out there
I am confused by your comments Paul.... are you asking tongue in cheek or are you serious that police wouldnt tell lies? I myself have been a victim of the boys in blue.
yes this has been a bad career move for the officers involved, though what their motivation to lie escapes me, where as Mr Mitchell?, is now being painted whiter than white by fellow Tories.
Ironstine. Mitchell is not a nice person and seems to think he is better than anyone else. But as for being painted as whiter than white it was the stupid actions of a certain PC who gave them this opportunity
Officers dont need a motive Ironstine, they do what they want and as for Mr Mitchell, perhaps he is whiter than white, we dont know.... truth will come out. We shouldnt judge until we know.
Dave..... How do you know Mr Mitchell is not a nice man, do you know for sure that he thinks he is better tah anyone else? I think not and I am surprised that you have posted this comment. You are normally one of the fairest guys on this site, Its not like you Dave.
Damn - they've removed CRs comments - I was hoping to see how pure socialism was gonna sort this one out!
Well said David Francis..... his remarks are wearing really thin arent they.? He will have your cart taken from you if you are not careful!!!!!!
Police need to obey the laws the same as the rest of us. Police are NOT the law they are paid to represent it.
the police uniform should be respected not the man wearing it, Mr Mitchell admits he did not do this,is this the way to set a good example to Joe public
Aw, was it because I mentioned a certain Tory peer? Never mind. To reiterate, Mitchell may well not have said 'pleb', but he DID swear at police on his own admission, so what's his problem? Just because police have form in the past on fitting people up (from Hillsborough to the miners' strike) doesn't mean ALL police are corrupt. Mitchell is just after his job back and obviously can't manage on his MP's salary of £65,000 pa.
I think we have an issue of context lets all be honest there is not a man of woman on this site who has not used the F word sometimes in anger sometimes as a passing word so, which way was it said by Mitchel
This was another case where the individual was tried by the media in what now appears a conspiracy - I just wonder if the media will try the police officers in the same way?
Bent coppers. Bent politicians. Tell us something we dont already know. I cant wait for my tax money to pay for yet another pointless investigation. Wooohoooooo!!!!!!!!!