No 10 rejects suggestion Cabinet Secretary's review was 'botched'
Downing Street rejects the suggestion that the Cabinet Secretary's review was "botched".
This review correctly concluded that the emails in question were unreliable. The Prime Minister wanted to keep Andrew Mitchell in his job, and was very supportive of him. At the time Andrew Mitchell apologised to the police and chose not to make a complaint to the IPCC - 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.
'Quick release' of CCTV footage could have kept Mitchell in government
Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell believes the plebgate CCTV footage recorded at the gates of No 10 Downing Street, with a now disputed email purporting to be an eyewitness account of the event, would have quickly cleared his name if Downing Street had agreed to its release at the time.
Well I think that, had the CCTV been released earlier, together with the email, 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.
I understand that two of the three poisonous phrases are in it (initial briefing notes), but whether there were two or three or one, whether it was done within one minute or an hour or three hours of the incident at the gate, it is wholly and totally untrue.
– Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell
Four arrests have been made as part of the Operation Alice investigation into the incident. The row ignited when Mr Mitchell was accused of a heated rant against officers as he left Downing Street on September 19.
Mitchell: Downing Street 'wanted plebgate to go away'
In an interview for a second investigation into the plebgate incident by Channel 4's Dispatches, which is due to be broadcast tonight, former chief whip Andrew Mitchell said:
I think 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.
Mr Mitchell only asked to see the closed circuit footage of the altercation with police at the main gates of Downing Street on the day he resigned, October 19, but was not shown it for nearly three weeks.
"It was quite a frustrating experience," he added.
Mitchell: Downing Street wanted me to 'lie low' in plebgate row
Andrew Mitchell has told of his frustration with Downing Street's handling of the plebgate furore claiming it just wanted him to "lie low" rather than clear his name.
The Tory MP, who was forced to quit as chief whip after an intense backlash following claims he called police officers protecting the Prime Minister "plebs", suggested No 10 "wanted this to go away" but said he could not live with knowing he had been "stitched up".
Mr Mitchell believes he would still be in government if footage of the exchanges had been swiftly released. Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, who viewed the tape in the days after the incident, was sharply criticised by MPs last month over his botched investigation.
The CCTV scenes threw into doubt police claims about what went on when the then Tory enforcer was refused exit through Downing Street's main gates on his bicycle.
Downing Street has tweeted to say that any suggestion the Red Arrows would be axed "is wrong."
Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy, commenting on a report in the Daily Mirror that the Red Arrows could be axed because of cuts to the defence budget, said Britons would be "dismayed" if it were true.
"The Red Arrows are part of our national character and history," he said.
"The country would be dismayed if they were scrapped to make yet more savings in defence, which the Prime Minister seemed to rule out just days ago."
PM denies civil service rift after control is questioned
David Cameron has insisted he enjoys "good" relations with civil servants after his former policy guru Steve Hilton spoke out about Downing Street's apparent inability to control Government decisions.
Mr Hilton told students at California's Stanford University that the Prime Minister often finds out about policies on the radio and in newspapers - and often opposes them.
Asked about it on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Cameron said:
I agree with some of what Steve has said. He's right to say there is an awful lot of bureaucracy and red tape and quangocracy that produces a huge amount of... That part of what he says is absolutely right. But in terms of if you have a Government with a clear vision, with a radical heart, can you get things done and changed in Britain? My answer is yes, you can. I have a good relationship with the civil servants I work with.
Man arrested over Andrew Mitchell 'plebgate' incident
A 23-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Andrew Mitchell "plebgate" investigation, Scotland Yard said.
The man, who is not a member of police staff, has been released on bail.
Officers investigating the circumstances surrounding a police officer's claim to have witnessed an incident in Downing Street in September 2012 have arrested a man on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an indictable offence on or around 14 December 2012.
The 23-year-old was arrested at his home address at 20:00hrs last night, Wednesday, 19 December and questioned at a London police station. He was released on bail this morning, Thursday, 20 December, to return on a date in January 2013.
The 23-year-old - who is the second man to be arrested - is not a police officer or member of police staff.