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  1. National

Andrew Mitchell ordered to pay £300,000 interim costs

Former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has been ordered to pay interim costs of £300,000 after he lost his High Court libel action over the "Plebgate" incident.

Former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell MP arrived at the High Court in London with his wife Dr Sharon Bennett. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
  1. National

Judge: PC lacked the 'wit' to make up 'Plebgate' claim

The police officer in the Plebgate incident lacked the "wit, imagination or inclination" to make up the exchange with Andrew Mitchell, Mr Justice Mitting has said.

The judge's ruling rejected the allegation there was collusion by the officers on the Downing Street gate following the row with the then-chief whip.

Andrew Mitchell's 27-year career in politics suffered a huge blow when the Plebgate claims emerged. Credit: PA

Mr Justice Mitting said PC Rowland was "not the sort of man who would have had the wit, imagination or inclination to invent on the spur of the moment an account of what a senior politician had said to him in temper".

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  1. National

Mitchell 'grim-faced' as 'Plebgate' verdict was delivered

Andrew Mitchell looked "grim-faced" throughout the verdict as he learned he had lost his 'Plebgate' libel action, ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen has tweeted.

PC Toby Rowland claimed statements made Mr Mitchell from December 2012 onwards falsely suggested he had fabricated his allegations.

Mr Mitchell had denied saying: "Best you learn your f****** place - you don't run this f****** government - you're f****** plebs."

He said he would never call a policeman a pleb "let alone a f****** pleb" - although he agreed he muttered audibly under his breath 'I thought you lot were supposed to f****** help us' - but not at the officer.

The 58-year-old MP for Sutton Coldfield resigned as whip a month after the altercation.

  1. National

Judge 'satisfied' Mitchell used the 'toxic word' pleb

The judge at London's High Court has said he is "satisfied" Andrew Mitchell did use the "politically toxic word pleb" in the exchange with PC Toby Rowland at the Downing Street gates.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen relayed Mr Justice Mitting's words from court, tweeting:

Mr Mitchell sued News Group Newspapers (NGN) over a September 2012 story in The Sun that claimed the then-chief whip had a branded police officer a "f****** bleb" for not allowing him to cycle through the Downing Street gate.

NGN based its report, which it said was substantially true, on the account given in his log by PC Toby Rowland.

More trains from Lincoln in new East Coast Franchise deal

The Department for Transport have said there will be more trains from Lincoln as part of the the new East Coast franchise to Inter City Railways, a consortium of Stagecoach and Virgin.

The new deal will include a host of extra benefits for passengers:

  • 23 new services from London to key destinations, with 75 more station calls a day;
  • plans for new direct links to Huddersfield, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Dewsbury and Thornaby;
  • proposals for more trains to London from Bradford, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Leeds, Lincoln, Newcastle, Shipley, Stirling, and York;
  • 3,100 extra seats for the morning peak time by 2020;
  • across the entire train fleet there will be 12,200 additional seats – a 50% increase;
  • 65 state of the art Intercity Express trains brought into passenger service from 2018, totalling 500 new carriages;
  • journey times from London to Leeds reduced by 14 minutes, and from London to Edinburgh by 13 minutes; and
  • a £140 million investment package to improve trains and stations.

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Virgin trains consortium chosen to run East Coast main line franchise

A consortium involving Sir Richard Branson's train company Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise from next year.

Virgin Trains has been chosen to run the East Coast main line franchise Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the consortium involving Virgin and transport company Stagecoach, who already run the West Coast line, will start the East Coast franchise in March 2015.

There has been speculation that a consortium of Eurotunnel and French company Keolis which is 70% owned by French state railway SNCF, had been chosen as the new East Coast operator.

But Eurotunnel/Keolis have now missed out, as have the other shortlisted bidder, FirstGroup (correct) which has recently also lost its First Capital Connect and ScotRail franchises.

How to boost voter numbers in the Midlands ahead of the General Election?

One of the biggest issues to be resolved before the General Election is voter turnout. In the UK 16 million of us don't bother to vote - seven million aren't even registered. Graham Allen - the Nottingham North MP - is now leading a consultation on how to shake up the system.

Could we vote online or on a smartphone? Should 16-year-olds be included?

Hannah Stokes reports for ITV Central's political programme - The Lobby.

Northants MP suggests Conservatives and UKIP should work together

Peter Bone, the MP for Wellingborough and Rushden, has tweeted that it could be time for UKIP and the Conservatives to work together.

It follows a second Westminster seat for UKIP in yesterday's by-election in Rochester and Strood.

Mr Bone has denied that he is considering defecting to UKIP.

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