‘Pleb’ row chief whip right to resign, say police

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The resignation of Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative chief whip, was the “right decision”, a police representative said last night.

Simon Payne, chairman of the Warwickshire Police Federation, told Sky News: “We’ve wanted to move on for weeks.

“This problem is not of our making, it’s squarely at the Government’s foot, and it’s ended with a right decision, finally, which is the resignation of Andrew Mitchell.

“What we now need to do is clear the air, find out from Mr Mitchell what he actually said, and then we can move on to some more important issues which currently face policing in our country.”

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “It is not good to see anyone fall from public office but the decision by the Prime Minister to accept Andrew Mitchell’s resignation seemed almost inevitable.

“Andrew Mitchell has apologised to our Metropolitan Police colleague and our colleague has accepted the apology. We hope this matter is now closed.”

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Michael Dugher, said Mr Mitchell should have resigned earlier.

“After weeks in complete denial, Andrew Mitchell has finally bowed to public pressure. What people will want to know is why, when the entire country could see that what Andrew Mitchell did was wrong, the Prime Minister totally failed to act,” he said.

“David Cameron is left looking profoundly weak and totally out of touch, doing everything he could to hold on to Andrew Mitchell only for his chief whip to bow to the inevitable, given the understandable public anger.

“There is a pattern of behaviour: an out of touch, high-handed Government where the chief whip can insult the police as plebs and the Chancellor thinks he has a right to sit in first class without paying the fare. This Tory Government day by day show they think it’s one rule for them, another for everyone else.”

Nick de Bois, Conservative MP for Enfield North, told the BBC: “Andrew has made the right call, but I feel a lot of sympathy, he’s been through a very difficult time.”

Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, questioned how police log books found their way into national newspapers.

“There are questions to be answered about the relationship the police still appear to have with the British media,” he said.