Mitchell: Act Two of Whitehall farce

Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell has denied using foul and insulting language to an officer

We are in Act Two of the Whitehall farce "What The Chief Whip Said".

But we are no closer to discovering whether the accused is guilty or innocent of the central charge - using a four letter word to an officer of the law.

Not any four letter word, mind you, but the most politically toxic of them all. The P word. P**b.

Forgive me if I appear not to be taking this seriously.

I am but I am amused by the fact that the government Chief Whip can admit to repeatedly using the F word in front of the boys in blue but cannot dare admit to saying pleb - something which he continues to deny in private.

Andrew Mitchell and No 10 hoped that his on camera apology would draw a line under this story.

It has failed to do so since the Tories' coalition partners have failed to back the man who is the government's - and not just the Conservatives' - Chief Whip.

The new Lib Dem Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne said: "I think people want to know what was said... Explaining to the media what was not said, is not the same as explaining to the media what was said".

Former party leaders Menzies Campbell and Paddy Ashdown both believe that Mitchell now needs to spell out what he did and didn't say.

The current leader, Nick Clegg, is desperate that the story simply goes away so he has walked a tightrope by welcoming the fact that Mitchell has apologised and "been contrite" without giving him full backing.

As I write, Vince Cable is getting to his feet.

I am told that he will make a joke about the P word - the sort of ministerial indiscipline which the Chief Whip ought really to clamp down on.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    " no boss I didn't say that" ( in a naughty child style ) if the PM is stupid enough to believe him it's a worry that he is in New York looking after our countries interests .his support for Mitchell is infact accusing the police officers of fabrication of evidence ,does he not realise this ? that is more of a worry a fool in charge

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    As usual the establishment are trying to cover up this disgraceful action by an arrogant government whip. Why am, I not surprised at the police chief agreeing to let it drop? As a working class man I would have been arrested for what Mitchell said but time and time again I have seen the slippery middle classes use their contacts to avoid justice. The middle classes avoid prosecution and prison.

  • rate this

    Comment number 343.

    Now BoJo's weighed in following the populist trail .....nuff said.

  • rate this

    Comment number 342.

    we have a weak PM and an out of touch gov ,a good PM would have sacked Mitchell straight away ,just shows the gov have no regard for the middle or working clases

  • rate this

    Comment number 341.

    2 Hours ago
    if Hunt is still fit to be in office, if Blair can't be called up for War Crimes, if all those caught out with expenses are still fit to be in office, then no, I don't think he's any worse than them.


    In the case of Blair, at least:

    Maybe because he's not a War Criminal?

    Just saying.


Comments 5 of 345


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