Hammond: 'Andrew Mitchell has damaged the Tories'

Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell's outburst at Downing Street police officers has been "very damaging" for the party, a senior minister said today.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Mr Mitchell's conduct had been "inexcusable" and the party needed to be able to draw a line under the matter.

Andrew Mitchell arriving at No 10 Downing Street in September
Andrew Mitchell arriving at No 10 Downing Street in September Credit: PA

"Every time any individual slips up, steps out of line, does something they shouldn't have done, commits an indiscretion, and they are a member of a party or an organisation, of course that is bound to reflect on that organisation," he told the BBC1 Sunday Politics programme.

"We have to accept that, it is very unfortunate. Nobody is defending Andrew Mitchell's conduct but a line now has to be drawn under it. This has been a very damaging affair."

Mr Mitchell was forced to apologise after police said he swore repeatedly at the officers and called them "plebs" after they refused to allow him to cycle through the main gates of Downing Street.


Cameron signals further cuts

The Conservative Party's annual conference opened in Birmingham today. David Cameron ruled out the 'mansion tax' saying this 'not going to happen.' He also signalled that additional benefit cuts would be necessary to fight the deficit.