Plebgate: Leaked email reveals repeated conflicts
Andrew Mitchell came into regular conflict with police officers on Downing Street in the run up to the famous "plebgate" incident, according to newly leaked evidence from the investigation.
An email sent by a Downing Street officer reveals that the MP repeatedly ordered officers to open the gates, despite rules stating that he should leave by the pedestrian side gate.
In the email an unnamed officer asks for advice on whether they should "stand our ground" and raises concerns that the conflict could lead to "serious repercussions" for officers.
The email, leaked to the Times Newspaper, was sent the night before Mitchell allegedly hurled abuse at Downing Street officers in September 2012.
It details a series of encounters between Mitchell and officers and contains a request for advice on how they should "play" their encounters in future given that the conflict was likely to "keep happening".
"It has been 'brought to my attention' that a certain cyclist who is now the government chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, keeps requesting to leave the front of Downing Street via the main vehicle gates," the officer wrote.
"When he was initially denied this, he went on to say: 'I am the government chief whip and I will be leaving via these gates. I have been in and out of these gates three times today and I will be leaving by this way, thank you'.
"As it was quite late and quiet at this point and in order to not create embarrassment to himself or the DPG he was allowed, on this occasion, to leave via one of the main gates. This rule was brought in by [redacted] former head of security at the house a while ago now I believe and we had an email stating that pedal cyclists must enter and leave via the pedestrian gate.
"This rule was brought in for the safety of the cyclist, officers and tourists/visitors at the front of the street and presumably for the general security of the street and people in it."
The officer writes of concerns that the conflict with Mitchell could lead to "serious repercussions" for officers.
"Can you please confirm, as I'm sure this will keep happening unless people of much higher rank or of standing of the street/house/government than me have an input, how you would suggest we play this?
"Do we just stand our ground (but have the backing of yourself if something comes of it in the future!) as it was already explained to him that it was for his safety, and for the security of the street, but on this occasion it would most certainly have brought serious repercussions on the officers etc, who decided on this occasion to use their discretion, or do we allow him (only) to use the main gates for his arrivals and departures at all times as he was adamant he WAS GOING THROUGH THOSE GATES and he's the 'government chief whip!'.
The email also reveals that Mitchell may have been illegally riding his bike without lights fitted.
"He may also need to be advised, that for his own safety at lease, that he may need to get some lights for his bike if he's going to ride it during hours of darkness," the officer writes.
It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without both lights and reflectors attached to the bike.
Today's leak comes a day after a Downing Street officer on duty during the alleged plebgate incident claimed the Police Federation had hijacked the row for their own political ends.
"I'm speaking out because I feel I've been betrayed – by the leakers, the mischief makers and sections of the federation. It's caused me 18 months of grief," Ian Richardson told the Times.
The officer admitted that he had not personally heard Mitchell use the word "pleb" but insisted that he still believed his colleagues who said they did.