Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell Hits out at David Cameron on TV
By Dominic Gover | February 5, 2013 1:55 AM EST
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell has opened a war of words with Downing Street for not defending him during the storm which saw him quit his chief whip post.
Mitchell accused Downing Street of wanting the pleb storm "to go away" instead of backing him during what he called a concerted campaign by the Police Federation to get him out.
Sutton Coldfield MP Mitchell clung on to his post for a month after the row erupted over allegations that he had sworn at police officers and called them "plebs". He reportedly dropped a stone in weight before finally leaving his job in September.
Mitchell allegedly called armed police on duty at the gates of Downing Street "f***ing plebs" after they ordered him to use a side entrance.
He admitted swearing at police but has repeatedly denied using the word "pleb".
On Channel 4's Dispatches show to be aired at 8pm tonight (Monday) Mitchell said: "Downing Street wanted this to go away. They really wanted me to lie low and let them get on with running the country but I couldn't do that.
"I couldn't wake up every morning for the rest of my life knowing that I had been stitched up.
"It was quite a frustrating experience. I do not think the arguments about national security were genuine.
"I think that it would have been discovered quite early on that something was quite seriously wrong with this and I suppose, had that happened, I might still be in government today."
Sir Jeremy Heywood, the top civil servant who Prime Minister David Cameron commissioned to probe Plebgate, reported that he believed Mitchell may have been the victim of a "gigantic conspiracy".
Absence of eyewitnesses
CCTV footage released long after Mitchell had resigned appeared to cast doubt on police officers' version of events, by showing Mitchell and the officers communicating for an insufficiently long period of time for the reported tirade to take place.
The footage also reveals a conspicuous absence of eyewitnesses, who were said in an email to be shocked by the incident. The email was later revealed to have been sent by a police officer.
Downing Street said of Mitchell's claims on Dispatches: "At the time Andrew Mitchell apologised to the police and chose not to make a complaint to the IPCC [the Independent Police Complaints Commission] - a path which was always available to him.
"The Prime Minister takes full responsibility for the way the case was handled and has said repeatedly that what matters now is that the police get to the bottom of this matter."
Plebgate unfolded when the government was engaged in a high-profile row with police over budget cuts, affecting pay and conditions. After the row became public, the Police Federation led a campaign against Mitchell, including T-shirts and huge posters at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham. A federation spokesman later said it would apologise to Mitchell if he was exonerated of saying "pleb."
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