Labour is piling the pressure on David Cameron over Chief Pleb Whip Andrew Mitchell who faces a showdown with senior Conservative MPs who want him to resign before he does lasting “damage” to the party’s reputation.
It feels like lasting damage has already been done in what is a story that will not go away as Cameron doggedly stands by his man.
The Telegraph reports that Conservative chief whip will meet leaders of the backbenchers 1922 committee amid growing anger among its executive over the way his outburst at police has dominated the headlines in recent weeks.
Mitchell faces calls to quit after repeatedly refusing to disclose exactly what he recalls saying to police officers who stopped him cycling through the main gates to Downing Street.
Labour has launched this online campaign asking “Who do you trust? The police or Tory MP Andrew Mitchell?” It is asking the public to sign up and let their feelings on the #gategate story be known.
Labour is also tabling a motion calling for the Conservative Chief Whip to lose £1,000 in pay – roughly the figure he would have faced as a fine at a magistrates court had he been prosecuted over the incident.
If Mitchell needs help recalling what he said to police officers guarding Downing Street here is what he said according to an official police report:
“Best you learn your f****** place … you don’t run this f****** government … you’re f****** plebs.”
Mitchell denies it, of course, but oddly won’t admit what he really said. Cameron is digging a ditch for himself in choosing to believe the word of a Tory MP over a police officer who you would think has no reason to lie.
Cameron’s insistence on sticking by the chief whip appears to be part of the Tory campaign to reign in the police force in the UK and push through cuts and reform.