Met arrests police officer over ‘plebgate’

By staff

A police officer has been arrested and bailed in connection with the 'plebgate' incident that led to Andrew Mitchell's resignation from the Cabinet.

The Metropolitan police said in a statement the officer, a member of its diplomatic protection group, was held on Saturday evening but was not on duty at the time.

Mitchell faced weeks of pressure before finally quitting over allegations that he called a police officer who refused to let him into Downing Street on site "plebs".

The chief whip and former international development secretary apologised, met members of the Police Federation and avoided the Conservative party's autumn conference in Birmingham, but was finally forced to resign as public anger about his rant – and what it said about the ruling Conservatives – forced him to quit.

Now a Met officer has been accused of misconduct in public office. The arrest is thought to relate to the way in which reports of the exchange emerged in the Sun and Telegraph newspapers.

"The arrest is linked to previous inquiries by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) as to how internal MPS information was obtained by national newspapers following an incident at Downing Street in September," the Met's statement added.

"These inquiries found no evidence to suggest any of the officers involved in the incident were involved in the unauthorised release of information."

Lord Justice Leveson's recent report on the culture, practice and ethics of the press recommended police whistleblowers should report their concerns internally rather than go to journalists.