Police-row whip faces ‘difficult time’, warns MP

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Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell will have a “difficult time” in his new role, Tory MP David Davis has warned.

The MP for Haltemprice & Howden, who ran against David Cameron for the party leadership in 2005, also branded those seeking a new leadership challenge “daft”.

He told Parliament’s House magazine: “Writing letters is daft. We are in the middle of a national crisis in economic terms. It is not a time for introspection.”

Mr Mitchell, who previously ran Mr Davis’s campaign in the contest for the Tory leadership, was reported to have pulled out of the Conservative Party conference this weekend following claims that he called Downing Street police officers “plebs”.

Mr Davis said: “He will have a difficult time. What does a Chief Whip have at his fingertips to deploy normally? Well, a mixture of charm, rewards, appeals to loyalty – all of those are diluted at the moment.

“There are very few jobs to be given out. They are going to have to steer the Parliamentary party through a time when it is not at all clear that our allies are still going to be our allies. It’s going to be very, very difficult.

“Andrew is a clever lad, a capable character who’s been a whip before. He’s experienced, he’s been through hard times in government before. If he asks for my advice, I’ll give it.”

Mr Davis also urged the Prime Minister to “have a plan” on Europe.

He said: “The Europe Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister have got to have a plan. At the moment I don’t have a feeling that the party or the Government knows explicitly where it’s going.

“The explicit answer to the European issue, whether it’s eurozone or the more general European membership issue, is a big renegotiation and multiple referendums.”