UK & World News
Police Chief: Rude Tory MP Must Quit
The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, John Tully, has told Sky News that Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell is not fit to hold office and should resign.
"I called for Mr Mitchell to resign this morning. I know what the officers have told me, and what was reported in The Sun this morning is absolutely what happened," Mr Tully said.
"So I think Mr Mitchell needs to address his position and resign as soon as possible.
"Someone who holds such high office, and who apparently holds the police in such contempt, is not deserving of such high office and he should resign."
Mr Tully's comments came after police groups and Labour questioned whether Mr Mitchell could hang on to his job after details emerged of his confrontation with police at Downing Street.
According to The Sun, the MP swore at police after being told he was not allowed to cycle out of Downing Street via the main gate.
He apparently branded the officers "plebs" when he was asked to use the side gate and said they should learn their place.
The incident occurred a day after two Manchester officers were shot dead.
Mr Mitchell, a former shadow police minister who became Chief Whip in the reshuffle earlier this month, has denied using some of the reported bad language but apologised for not treating the police with proper respect.
Earlier, David Cameron condemned his Chief Whip over the reported foul-mouthed rant.
Speaking on a visit to Greater Manchester Police headquarters in the wake of the killing of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, Mr Cameron said Andrew Mitchell's behaviour had been "wrong" and "inappropriate", but stressed he had apologised.
Asked if he would stand by Mr Mitchell or sack him, Mr Cameron said: "What Andrew Mitchell said and what he did was not appropriate. It was wrong and it is right that he has apologised."
Mr Mitchell made a personal apology to the officer involved by telephone this morning as he tried to limit the damage from the episode.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said the officer had accepted Mr Mitchell's apology. No formal complaint has been filed over the politician's behaviour.
The MP apparently pulled out of a speaking engagement in Reading today as news of the row broke.
The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, condemned the outburst, saying the row was particularly offensive following the shootings in Manchester.
Chairman Paul McKeever said: "It is hard to fathom how someone who holds the police in such contempt could be allowed to hold a public office.
"Mr Mitchell's half-hearted apology for the comments made whilst leaving Downing Street will do little to build bridges with the police who feel they have once again been treated with a lack of respect and civility by members of this Government.
"The lack of regard that some within Government appear to hold police officers in is especially disappointing during this tragic week for the service and does nothing for the rock bottom morale of officers in this country."
Mr Mitchell, whose role puts him in charge of party discipline, disputed The Sun's version of events, but admitted in a statement he "did not treat the police with the respect they deserve".
He said: "On Wednesday night I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before. I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way.
"While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve."
The Sun has said it stands by its story on Mr Mitchell in full.
Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, said: "These are appalling reports. No one should treat police officers or public servants in this way.
"The idea that a Cabinet Minister could behave like this towards police officers doing their job is an utter disgrace."
Other members of the Labour party took to Twitter to voice their anger at Mr Mitchell's alleged comments.
Jim Murphy, shadow defence secretary and MP for East Renfrewshire, tweeted: "Some of these Tories are foul mouthed spoilt little brats and now one caught by The Sun".
The Labour chair of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee recalled that London Mayor Boris Johnson has called for people who swear at the police to be arrested.
Joanne McCartney said: "At last year's Conservative Party conference, the Mayor of London said that anybody who swears at a police officer should be arrested. It seems it's one rule for the public and another for those running the country."
Graham Wettone, a former public order intelligence officer with the Metropolitan Police, told Sky News it was "incorrect for anyone to abuse uniformed officers when they are doing their duty and doing their job".
He added that opening the main Downing Street gates, used by cars, for pedestrians "poses a significant security risk".