It has taken weeks, but Andrew Mitchell has finally resigned as chief whip. He has gone after the pressure piled on by Ed Miliband and Labour, the Police Federation and the Daily Telegraph who all called for him to go after he swore at police officers and allegedly called officers plebs.
It closes a bizarre chapter that makes Prime Minister David Cameron look weak and out of touch having failed to sack him at the first opportunity. Instead he chose to repeat mistakes he made with former News of the World editor, turned Tory communications chief, Andy Couslon and the hacking scandal.
Clearly, Cameron just doesn’t like to let his Andy’s go. According to the BBC in his resignation letter Mitchell says “it has become clear to me that whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter I will not be able to fulfil my duties as we both would wish. Nor is it fair to continue to put my family and colleagues through this upsetting and damaging publicity”.
I suppose that translates loosely as something like “I have desperately tried to cling on to my job for weeks on end until finally realising I’m totally F*****”.
There was talk of further resignations within the whips office putting pressure on Mitchell and the party leading to tonight’s decision. Deputy chief whip John Randall is said to have been talked out of quitting in protest at Mitchell’s unseemly desire to cling on.
Guido is saying that Mitchell has also finally gone now because he faces problems from the Sunday papers which are said to be “getting very close on another aspect of Mitchell’s life… ”
In his resignation letter Mitchell repeats his “categorical assurance” that he did not call police officers “plebs” – as alleged in the police report on the incident, but he does finally tell us what he did say. Giving us possibly the first resignation with an f-word in it:
“The offending comment and the reason for my apology to the police was my parting remark ‘I thought you guys were supposed to f***ing help us’ It was obviously wrong of me to use such bad language and I am very sorry about it and grateful to the police officer for accepting my apology.”
Clearly there are many who will not believe a word of Mitchell’s version of story after refusing to reveal what he said for so long.