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Met Police officer to be sentenced over 'Plebgate' row

Keith Wallis
Keith Wallis was the only officer to have been charged in connection with the 'plebgate' affair. Credit: PA

A Metropolitan Police officer will be sentenced today after pleading guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office over the "plebgate" scandal.

Pc Keith Wallis, 53, falsely claimed in an email that he had witnessed an incident in Downing Street involving the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and other officers in September 2012.

Last month, his offer to resign from the force was rejected by Scotland Yard, who said in a statement: "The deputy commissioner has refused to accept Pc Wallis's resignation and he will face a misconduct board in the coming weeks."

Read: Police officer admits misconduct over 'plebgate'

IPCC halts probe into 'Plebgate' union representatives

by - Political Correspondent

The ripples from Andrew Mitchell's short, bad tempered altercation at the Downing Street gate continue to spread.

ITV News has learned that the police watchdog has temporarily suspended its investigation into three police union representatives over their meeting with Mr Mitchell.

The officers from Mr Mitchell's local Police Federation branches gave an account of a meeting with him about the 'Plebgate' affair, which appeared to contradict a recording Andrew Mitchell made of the meeting.

Andrew Mitchell. Credit: Press Association

The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an investigation into the men after they appeared in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee. But the Federation then initiated legal proceedings saying the men had already been investigated and cleared.

The Federation took out an injunction against the IPCC investigation while a Judicial Review is heard. An IPCC source says it will not harm their investigation to wait for the outcome of the review and so they are not contesting the injunction.

An IPCC spokesman said: "We deeply regret the delay in concluding a matter of great public interest.

"However, as there would be no prejudice to our investigation if it is suspended pending the outcome of proceedings we do not wish to incur unnecessary costs from the public purse in fighting the interim application.

"As a result, we will not be in a position to complete our investigation pending the conclusion of this legal action."

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Sun: PC guilty plea 'a red herring to the main event'

The Sun's Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn, who broke the original 'plebgate' story, has claimed the police officer's admission today to falsifying witnessing the row, was merely "a red herring to the main event": the Downing Street PC who alleged Andrew Mitchell called him a "pleb".

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Worth remembering Keith Wallis's part in #Plebgate came a day after the row at gates. So a red herring to main event; if Mitchell said pleb.

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Also worth remembering PC Toby Rowland, who made 'pleb' allegation, has been fully vindicated by Met/CPS/IPCC, + he is still suing Mitchell.

A Sun spokesman said: "We stand by our story and will defend Mr Mitchell's claim vigorously".

Mr Mitchell is suing the paper for libel.

In a statement, he said: "I am pleased that justice has been done in a criminal court today....I am looking forward to seeing justice done in the up to 10 other related disciplinary cases involving police officers"

Mitchell in constituency after 'plebgate' guilty plea

Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell was in his constituency after a police officer admitted to falsely claiming to have witnessed the 'plebgate' row.

Andrew Mitchell plebgate
Andrew Mitchell pictured in his Sutton Coldfield constituency today. Credit: ITV News

He had earlier issued a statement saying: "It is very sad and worrying for all of us that a serving police officer should have behaved in this way."

Read the statement in full

Mitchell declines to comment on 'plebgate' news

Andrew Mitchell declined to comment to awaiting reporters on the news a police officer has pleaded guilty to misconduct over the "plebgate" scandal during his visit to his Sutton Coldfield constituency.

Andrew Mitchell pictured in his Sutton Coldfield constituency today.
Andrew Mitchell pictured in his Sutton Coldfield constituency today. Credit: ITV News

Mr Mitchell told them: "I hope you're enjoying visiting my constituency."

He had earlier issued a written statement saying he was "pleased that justice has been done."

Read: Police officer pleads guilty to misconduct over 'plebgate'

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Cross-party support for Mitchell to return to Cabinet

Senior MPs on both sides of the green benches for Andrew Mitchell to be reappointed to the Cabinet after a police officer admitting to falsely claiming to have witnessed the 'plebgate' row between the former Chief Whip and officers:

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Delighted Andrew Mitchell vindicated after long and tough time fighting against system. Must never again - to cab minister or anyone

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Vindication for Andrew Mitchell: http://t.co/NmESBOn5Lm I sincerely hope he is re-appointed to the Cabinet.

Mitchell 'pleased that justice has been done'**

PM: 'Completely unacceptable' officer falsified account

David Cameron said it was "completely unacceptable" for a police officer to falsify their account of an incident after PC Keith Wallis pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office over the "plebgate" affair.

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: PA

The Prime Minister said: “It is completely unacceptable for a serving police officer to falsify an account of any incident.

"Andrew Mitchell has consistently denied the version of events presented in the email and I welcome the fact that the officer concerned has now pleaded guilty.”

'Plebgate' PC's actions 'risks casting shadow over police'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the actions of PC Keith Wallis, who has pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office in relation to the "plebgate" affair, risks "casting a shadow over the excellent work police officers do day in, day out".

For a police officer to make up evidence in any case is an extremely serious offence which jeopardises justice and undermines confidence in the important work police do. Police officers uphold the law, and their evidence must be trusted in court.

Democracy depends on the idea that everyone can rely on the police to treat them with honesty and fairness, without fear or favour - from Cabinet ministers to teenagers in the street or victims of crime.

So it is of great concern when those we trust fall below the standards the police and the public expect.

Andrew Mitchell has had to wait far too long for the results of all these investigations. The remaining misconduct inquiries must be pursued swiftly.

– Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper

Read: Police officer pleads guilty to misconduct over 'plebgate'

Vaz: Andrew Mitchell subjected to 'gross unfairness'

Labour MP Keith Vaz has said that a police officer's admission of misconduct over 'plebgate' is an acknowledgement of gross unfairness towards former chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

The Home Affairs Select Committee chairman said:

This plea is not only the first public acknowledgement that Mr Mitchell has been the subject of gross unfairness but it also an admission that a criminal offence has been committed against him.

With 11 other officers being subject to misconduct hearings, and the further investigation by the IPCC, this appears to be a complete vindication of Mr Mitchell's position.

Lessons have to be learnt in order to restore full public confidence in way these matters are dealt with.

Now is the time to turn the page on this whole unfortunate incident which took only 45 seconds, but has cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds, Mr Mitchell his job and damaged the reputation of the police.

– Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz

Read: Police officer pleads guilty to misconduct over 'plebgate'

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