One long night –but Mitchell makes it to morning

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Glorious sunrise: Andrew Mitchell survived the toughest night of his career yesterday.
Glorious sunrise:Andrew Mitchell survived the toughest night of his career yesterday.

The future of the Tory chief whip looked secure today, after he survived a meeting of the 1922 committee and a bruising PMQs with his career intact.

His deputy, John Randall, is reported to have been talked out of resigning last night, and one other party whip, who was not identified, also appears to have considered stepping down over the row.

But most backbench MPs seem to have stuck with the chief whip during a meeting of the 1922 committee in the corridors of Westminster.

Mitchell's PMQs trauma


Journalists are not allowed in the committee meeting, but it was reported that three or four MPs raised doubts about keeping Mitchell in place, while 15 MPs – including influential figures like Sir Peter Tapsell and Bernard Jenkin – said the row had gone on long enough.

Labour will probably be secretly pleased with Mitchell's survival, because it drags out the Tories' association with a man whose altercation with the police had touched a nerve with the public.

Some Conservative MPs believe the story has run its course and has nowhere else to go, but Ed Miliband can continue to use it to enforce the image of Tories as upper-class snobs and protect himself from 'class war' attacks from David Cameron.

There is also new confusion over the exact events outside Downing Street, where Mitchell was accused by police of shouting "you f***ing pleb" to officers.

Mitchell's allies had previously accepted he swore but denied he used the word "pleb". Yesterday he seemed to directly contradict that account in the Commons when he mouthed "I didn't swear" at Miliband during PMQs.

The chief whip has previously refused to say exactly what he did tell officers.

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