Police report confirms Mitchell’s ‘plebs’ slur
The formal police log filed by the officer who faced chief whip Andrew Mitchell's angry rant has been published in full, confirming he did call the police "plebs".
Its publication by the Telegraph newspaper directly contradicts Mitchell's denial that he used the words "attributed" to him by the media, establishing a standoff between Mitchell's version of events and the police officer's.
Two-thirds of members of the public now believe Mitchell is not being honest, a poll by YouGov has suggested.
It found over half of Britons think the chief whip should resign over the comments – and fieldwork took place before the publication of the police officer's report.
This reveals that the police were prepared to offer Mitchell access to Downing Street through a pedestrian side gate. His lost temper was the result of his being refused entry on his bicycle through the main gate opened only for vehicles.
"After several refusals Mr MITCHELL got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him," the log stated.
"There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr MITCHELL said: 'Best you learn your f—— place…you don't run this f—— government…You're f—— plebs.'
"The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official.
"I cannot say if this statement was aimed at me individually, or the officers present or the police service as a whole."
The police officer then threatened to arrest Mitchell under the Public Order Act for swearing.
"Mr MITCHELL was then silent and left saying 'you haven't heard the last of this' as he cycled off," the officer concluded.
"I forward this to you as all officers were extremely polite to Mr MITCHELL, but such behaviour and verbal expressions could lead to the unfortunate situation of officers being left no option but to exercise their powers.
"I write this for your information as Mr Mitchell's last comments would appear to indicate that he is unhappy with my actions."
The Sun newspaper's quotations in its original story last Friday reflected the quotes used in the log, but Mitchell has repeatedly insisted he did not call the police "plebs".
He has already escaped an official probe after Cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood and David Cameron agreed there was no need for an investigatory probe.
Attempts to "draw a line" under the affair may be thwarted by parliament, however, after Labour MP Bill Esterson wrote to its commissioner for standards to request the matter be looked into further.
"Though both Mr Mitchell and the prime minister have tried to draw a line under the matter, it is still too early to tell whether or not this will cause wider political damage," YouGov's director of political and social research Joe Twyman said.
"However, the specific insult Mr Mitchell is reported to have used certainly does not help David Cameron in his efforts to detoxify the Conservative party brand."