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Family of ex-Tory minister praise health professionals

The family of former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell, who died aged 86 following a long illness, have paid tribute to the health professionals who looked after him.

Former transport minister Sir David Mitchell. Credit: PA

Sir David Mitchell, the former Member of Parliament for Hampshire North West and minister in the Thatcher governments has died today aged 86.

The family has expressed its gratitude to the health professionals and carers who enabled him to die peacefully in his own home.

– A family spokesman
  1. National

Former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell dies

Former Conservative minister Sir David Mitchell has died aged 86 following a long illness, his family has announced.

Sir David, who served under Margaret Thatcher in various departments including industry, transport and Northern Ireland, was the father of former Cabinet minister and current Tory MP Andrew Mitchell.

He was an MP from 1964 to 1997, representing Hampshire North West, and died at his home in Odiham, Hampshire, in the early hours of this morning.

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Fresh allegations in 'Plebgate' affair

Scotland Yard has said it will not release information heard in gross misconduct hearings against officers involved in the so-called Plebgate affair, despite a request from Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell.

According to reports tonight, Mr Mitchell's letter reveals that one of the female officers boasted to a friend that she could "take down the Tory government" over the incident, which involved a dispute over whether he could cycle through the main gates of Downing Street.

The woman also allegedly texted "the Fed need our help" - thought to potentially be a reference to a dispute between the Police Federation and the government.

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell requested full disclosure of information Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Three officers have already been dismissed over the incident, with two more facing ongoing proceedings.

The Metropolitan Police Service says it will release a full report in due course - but won't be commenting on Mr Mitchell's request.

A statement from the force confirmed officers had received a letter from Mr Mitchell, adding:

Statutory regulations govern police misconduct proceedings and state they are considered a private process.

As such the information raised at misconduct hearings is treated as confidential. However, the MPS has already stated publicly that a report detailing the Operation Alice investigation will be published in due course.

We also intend to publish the summary reports from the chair of the gross misconduct boards.

Mr Mitchell is aware that we will inform him in advance of publication what will be released, and when.

There are still outstanding gross misconduct hearings. To ensure that these important hearings are not jeopardised through abuse of process, we will not comment any further until they have concluded.

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The Belfry to reopen after £26m refurbishment

After a £26 million refurbishment, The Belfry Golf Course in Sutton Coldfield is being officially reopened today.

The Belfry Golf Course in Sutton Coldfield has undergone a £26m revamp Credit: Joe Giddens/EMPICS Sport

Millions of pounds have been spent revamping all the bedrooms and meeting rooms at the hotel, while the restaurant and the Brabazon Bar have had a facelift.

Ryder Cup legend Bernard Gallacher is expected to attend the grand reopening, as the Belfry was the scene of one of his greatest triumphs.

"Plebgate" policeman seeks £200,000 libel damages from Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell has always denied using the term "plebs" Credit: PA Wire

The policeman at the centre of the Plebgate row is demanding up to £200,000 in compensation from the MP for Sutton Coldfield Andrew Mitchell.

Toby Rowland has filed court papers repeating his claim that Mr Mitchell used the term "plebs" during their confrontation in Downing Street in 2012.

He also argues that the then chief whip, who was forced to resign in the wake of the controversy, changed his story after effectively admitting in a phone call that he had said the disputed words.

The documents have been lodged as part of a libel battle between the MP, the police officer, and The Sun newspaper.

Stating his case in detail for the first time since the incident, Mr Rowland insists Mr Mitchell erupted after being blocked from cycling out of the pedestrian gate to leave the street.

The politician has previously admitted to using "Anglo-Saxon" language, but said he did not swear at police, and denied using the term "plebs".

Premier League stars support Petrov match

Petrov retired from professional football after a battle with cancer Credit: PA

A host of Premier League stars will play for Bulgaria in a charity football match today to raise money for Stilliyan Petrov's charity.

The former Aston Villa skipper was forced to retire from professional football after a battle with leukaemia.

Petrov will line up with the likes of Julian Joachin and Alan Wright, while Steve Staunton, Bryan Small and European Cup-winning aces Ken McNaught, are expected to turn out for their opponents.

Kick off is a 2pm in at the Trevor Brown Memorial Stadium, Boldmere.

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