Police defend handling of ‘plebgate’ probe

Scotland Yard and the police watchdog have defended their handling of investigations into the so-called ‘plebgate’ affair in the face of scathing criticism from a former chief prosecutor.

Ex-director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald said it is “outrageous” that the police force has yet to publish a conclusion about the 45-second incident outside Downing Street nearly a year ago which led to then chief whip Andrew Mitchell’s resignation.

But the Metropolitan Police have said the inquiry is complicated and will “take as long as is necessary”, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has said “all that can be done to conclude the investigation is being done”. Deborah Glass, of the IPCC, which is supervising two investigations into the incident on September 19 last year, said allegations of a conspiracy were “complex”.

Writing in The Times, Lord Macdonald warned a missile is heading for the Metropolitan Police if it turns out the use of the word “pleb” was fabricated.