Friday, 19 October 2012

Plebgate continued

I wrote about Andrew Mitchell on the 24th September. He had the support of David Cameron which is usually a sign of imminent departure. Well it wasn't imminent as he only resigned today. Headlines will say that Mr Mitchell resigned because of 'plebgate' and I suppose that is right as he may have lost authority following this embarrassing incident. My main concern was not Mr Mitchell's standing in his party but his party's relationship with the police service and society in general.

The loss of a chief whip is not a big deal. The big deal is that we still have no answer as to what was said and the consequent underlying opinions. We have heard a defence so many times that an apology has been offered, the apology has been accepted and a line should be drawn. Even Mr Mitchell did not draw a line at this point.

In the blog on the 24th I wrote 'In this  particular case we can be fairly sure that the word "plebs" was used as Mr Mitchell did not directly say that he didn't say it. He only said that he had not used the words that had been reported'. Now he says he did not use the word 'pleb'. Why was this denial not reported at once? Probably because it took some time for the denial to be given. It would still be nice to know what the officer misheard in their contemporaneous notes.

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