The police investigation in to the “Plebgate” affair which led to the resignation of former chief whip Andrew Mitchell has cost nearly £150,000, it emerged.
Scotland Yard launched the inquiry – codenamed Operation Alice – after claims that officers may have lied about the dispute with Mr Mitchell when they refused to let him leave Downing Street on his bike via the main gate in September last year.
It was claimed at the time that Mr Mitchell swore at the officers and called them “plebs”.
But a subsequent Channel 4 investigation cast doubt on that account when it revealed CCTV footage which showed there was not a large group of tourists outside the main gate at the time as had originally been claimed.
An email from a civilian witness backing up the police account of events has also since been called into question.
Mr Mitchell – who strenuously denies the allegation that he called the officers “plebs” – was forced to resign after a series of damaging headlines.
In a letter from Deputy Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan, who is leading the investigation, to Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, it was disclosed the cost of the police investigation had reached £144,000.
DAC Gallan wrote: “It remains that I have 30 officers at my disposal and the Operation Alice is estimated to have cost £144,000 to date.
“Four people have been arrested and no individual is currently charged. The advice file submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service by the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] has specifically asked for advice and guidance surrounding the future of the investigation in relation to potential criminal charges.”