'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.
Police officer arrested over alleged 'plebgate' media leaks
A 46-year-old female police officer from Scotland Yard's Diplomatic Protection Group was arrested over alleged leaks to the media linked to the Andrew Mitchell "plebgate" affair, the Metropolitan Police said.
MPs criticised Cabinet Sec investigation into 'Plebgate'
The Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood was criticised earlier this week by MPs on the Public Administration Committee for his investigation into former chief whip Andrew Mitchell's row with Downing Street police officers.
Sir Jeremy was not the "appropriate figure" to carry out such an inquiry and his role as an "impartial investigator" was compromised, The Commons Public Administration Committee said.