Andrew Mitchell has used the word "pleb" in private conversation, a former Cabinet minister said - but he did not believe it was something the former chief whip would have said in public.
Michael Portillo suggested police officers might have picked the word as one that people would readily believe had been uttered by Mr Mitchell.
"I have heard him use that word in private conversation - the pleb word, I mean," Mr Portillo told BBC1's This Week.
"I didn't believe he could have used it at the gates."
It's turning out to be a big week in the life of the story we call "plebgate".
West Mercia Police have confirmed they are reviewing a report on the 'Plebgate' scandal which is alleged to have been fundamentally altered.
Claims have emerged police officers changed the conclusions of a probe into a meeting between Andrew Mitchell and federation members.