The Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP vs Police Constable James Patrick
Original post 4th Jan 2013 – updated 26/11/13 (*updates at end*)
Contrasting cases + ‘supportive’ background history:
If asked to believe the words of a senior Conservative politician regarding the Pleb-gate CCTV ‘evidence’ or those in the new cult book ‘The Rest is Silence’ which expose the selfish financial incentives at work behind the weakening and gradual privatising of the police service, I’d suspect the politician and respect the author.
At least author PC James Patrick honestly tries to warn the public of the increased safety and security risks to them due to how these policies were decided and are being implemented (http://amzn.to/X5brrw).
From an article in the Guardian, the Met was more concerned about how leaks occurred and, if any leaks discussed increased risks to public safety or security, that these should at all costs be suppressed:
‘Weeks before his resignation, the Met launched an investigation into how the Sun was leaked an internal report suggesting Mitchell did call the police “plebs”. The tabloid, which broke the original story about the incident, said it had seen a police report of the incident, prepared for senior officers, which indicated that Mitchell also swore repeatedly at officers.
..The Guardian reported this month how another constable – James Patrick – was being investigated for gross misconduct for a series of blogs and tweets – which he turned into a book [“The Rest is Silence”] detailing his belief that reform of the police service is putting the public at risk.’ (8: source list further below)
PC James Patrick, of course, was silenced – instructed “not to have contact with the public” – by the Met management, who alleged that “some of the contents of the book could be harmful to the reputation of the police service and adversely impact on public confidence”. (http://www.kaimtodner.com/news/2012/12/04/media_statement__pc_james_patrick.asp)
As may be seen, this is quite a contrast with The Right Honourable because many of his colleagues still feel he should be reinstated and more properly belongs back amongst the Honourable Right.
At one stage as a backbencher [Mitchell] had six directorships with Lazard and a financial consultancy earning him hundreds of thousands a year in addition to his MP’s salary.
Despite his fortune, it emerged during the Commons expenses scandal that Mr Mitchell had claimed 13p for Tippex and 45p for a stick of glue on his parliamentary expenses. ‘They are legitimate office expenses,’ he said at the time. (2)
He also has a £300,000 terraced house in his Midlands constituency of Sutton Coldfield. During the MPs’ expenses scandal it was revealed he had claimed more than £12,000 for cleaning, redecorating, gardening and furnishing at the home. (10)
A senior civil servant, who worked with him when he was a Welfare Minister in John Major’s government in the late 1990s, contacted The Mail on Sunday and said: ‘One of the chauffeurs told me he ordered his driver to use his official government car to collect his dry cleaning from the laundry.’ (6)
His neighbours say he has managed to fall out with them a number of times..
One resident .. said “..we’ve had some horrendous disputes over the years .. It has been a nightmare .. He is a very rude and arrogant man .. They’re the type of family who are always right.”
Another neighbour said he had to pull the Tory politician up after he allegedly spoke curtly to his wife.
“We knew them before they had money, power and these houses and they’ve always been like that”
“Mitchell would say I’m a partner at Lazard and an MP – in that order”, he said. “Says it all, doesn’t it?”
..A sarcastic constituent even emailed him to say: ‘Dear Mr Mitchell, I note you are both a politician and a banker. Do you have plans to train as an estate agent?’ (2)
Earlier this year he was revealed to be a major investor in a network of offshore companies (owned by a parent company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands) that, according to the authorities, was guilty of ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ by using a loophole to dodge paying £2.6million in stamp duty.
This didn’t sit very well with Chancellor George Osborne’s attack on tax avoidance as ‘morally repugnant’ and his vow to come down ‘like a ton of bricks’ on anyone who sought to evade stamp duty.
Labour MPs accused Mr Mitchell of hypocrisy and pointed to the fact that he had talked about one tax avoidance scheme some years before, saying: ‘It is disgraceful that anyone should try to perpetrate such a scheme. These people should pay the right amount.’
..Curiously for a chief whip who preaches the virtue of loyalty, he showed none to Iain Duncan Smith who was the Tory leader in 2001, the year Mr Mitchell returned to Westminster. He made no secret of his contempt and plotted openly to bring him down.
Following Mr Duncan Smith’s fall, he backed the favourite candidate, David Davis.
But, true to his single-minded ambition, he soon became a fervent supporter of Mr Cameron when he emerged victorious from the race.
Even his admirers admit he is a shameless chameleon. Gyles Brandreth, the former Tory MP turned author, describes Mr Mitchell as ‘the most ambitious man I know – almost crazy with ambition’.
Having never expressed any interest in the subject of international aid as a backbencher, he enthusiastically accepted the role of International Development Secretary in Mr Cameron’s cabinet. (2)
A cabinet minister intervened on behalf of a businessman nicknamed ‘Chocfinger’ to get a trading ban lifted after receiving £40,000 in donations from his company.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has been referred to the Parliamentary standards commissioner after he lobbied a foreign country within weeks of taking office for British cocoa magnate Andrew Ward.
Mr Ward had approached him over a ban that had been imposed on his firm in Ghana, and asked him to lobby against the restriction ‘at a presidential level’.
Mr Mitchell, a Tory, apparently phoned the British High Commissioner in the west African state over the matter, even though it was strictly outside his department’s remit.
..Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham then lobbied Ghana’s vice-president on behalf of Mr Ward’s company. The ban is said to have been lifted in all but one of the country’s districts – the one where the smuggling allegations occurred – in August.
Earlier this year Mr Ward cornered a big chunk of the global cocoa market..
The ministerial code states: ‘Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise.’
Internal government documents disclosed under freedom of information laws suggest Foreign Office civil servants raised questions as to why the Government should intervene to help Mr Ward’s company.
..One wrote: ‘Is this… something we should lobby on? Or should the UK company realise they have broken the rules and have to pay the price?’
The Commons register of financial interests shows Armajaro Holdings gave £40,000 to Mr Mitchell’s parliamentary office to support his work as shadow international development secretary between August 2006 and December 2009. The company also gave £50,000 to the Conservative Party in May 2004. (19)
The Education For All programme in India was hailed by our Government as an inspiring example of the effectiveness of Britain’s foreign aid budget.
..‘Remarkable progress is being made,’ boasted the Department’s spin machine, adding that the project had helped ‘to reduce the number of out-of-school children by five million since 2003’.
..Much of the cash had been allocated to schools that did not exist.
..Moreover, there was little evidence that money was helping to improve schools, since attendance by pupils and teachers was dismally low.
..‘I think the British people should be asking their government why it is funding such bad-value projects out of your public exchequer.’
..Britain’s foreign aid programme is riddled with waste, mismanagement and fraud..
..Fortunes have been squandered on corrupt governments and on propping up oppressive regimes.
In Ethiopia, for instance, British support of £300 million has been used by the government to cement its brutal grip on power.
Starving people are told they can have food only if they support the ruling party, while British-funded training programmes for Ethiopian civil servants have been little more than instruments of indoctrination by the same party.
..the EU swallows a third of all Britain’s aid expenditure, even though .. Clare Short once said the European Commission ran ‘the worst development agency in the world’ and branded its operations ‘an outrage and a disgrace’.
..EU aid has been used to promote tourism in Iceland, bankroll a French tourist resort in Morocco, support a ‘hospitality management school’ in Barbados and subsidise a Turkish TV station.
Yet the Tory-led Coalition refuses to face up to the overwhelming evidence of this epic failure.
..Senior Tories have become enthusiasts for aid because they think it showcases their compassion and proves they are no longer the ‘nasty party’. (20)
Andrew Mitchell overruled Foreign Office advice to hand £16million of British aid money to a controversial African dictator accused of fuelling a bloody civil war.
A senior Foreign Office source told the Daily Mail that Mr Mitchell’s decision to lift the freeze on aid to Paul Kagame’s Rwandan regime was a ‘mistake’ which would damage Britain’s reputation for standing up against human rights abuses.
Mr Mitchell, now David Cameron’s chief whip, is reported to have overruled his own civil servants by making the decision in his final hours as International Development Secretary last month.
Half of the money will go directly into the Rwandan government’s coffers – despite fears that it will be used to fund a murderous rebellion in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
One human rights campaigner yesterday described the move as a ‘parting favour’ to President Kagame, a personal friend of Mr Mitchell. (3)
David Cameron’s controversial foreign aid target is a costly ‘con job’ designed to make the Conservative Party seem more caring, a study warns today.
[and] ..accuses the Prime Minister of using billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to ‘rebrand his party..‘
..increased aid spending has been used by the Prime Minister to ‘detoxify’ the Tory image, describing it as ‘one of the most expensive marketing campaigns in history’.
..accuses Mr Cameron of ‘taking advantage of the real generosity of the British people’, adding: ‘A set of policies trumpeted as manifesting generosity is in fact a cynical, ruthless and morally reprehensible con job pushed by marketing gurus for whom their real-world effects in the underdeveloped world are largely irrelevant.’ (21)
Most of the visits related to Project Umabano, the voluntary project set up by Mr Mitchell and David Cameron in 2007 to help ‘detoxify’ their party’s uncaring image.
The revelations will focus fresh attention on the unlikely friendship between Mr Mitchell and Kagame, whose regime is accused of repression against political opponents at home and arming a murderous rebellion in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Internal DFID documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in a phone call in February 2011 the men discussed Mr Mitchell’s decision to increase aid to Rwanda from £60million a year to £90million, much of it poured into the Kagame regime’s coffers as ‘budget support’.
A memo recorded: ‘Secretary of State said this reflected the UK’s long-term support to Rwanda (including from the PM, who had visited as leader of the Opposition in 2006).President Kagame was very grateful.’
Two months earlier Mr Mitchell had flown to Rwanda to see Kagame for a ‘90-minute tete-a-tete followed by lunch’ in which they had ‘friendly but robust’ exchanges.
That meeting followed Kagame’s controversial re-election with 93 per cent of the vote. (4)
“The trip was lead by a delegation of senior Tory MPs including Mr Mitchell, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the then shadow minister for international development, and Nick Hurd.
..”I found myself in a class of 45 who could barely speak a word of English,” [Lucy Kinder] wrote.
“Progress was frustrating and the Ministry of Education did little to make this easier. It made a mockery of our fortnight. We have been instructing teachers who were hungry, tired and disillusioned.
“No explanation was given as to why the organisers of Project Umubano were so ill-informed about the situation. Even these bright sparks in the Conservative Party could not prevent the Rwandans they had gone to help falling prey to the problems that afflict the African continent.”
Mr Mitchell .. was unimpressed. After learning of the article, which she had submitted in draft form to The Independent, Ms Kinder says he called at around midnight during a coach journey to Dar Es Salaam to express his anger.
“He was furious,” she said. “He accused me of going behind his back and betraying the Conservative Party.
“He told me he couldn’t believe I had written such a damaging article and that he would make sure it wouldn’t be published..”
On arrival in Zanzibar, she was met by two Conservative Party aides who had flown in from Rwanda.
She said: “They took me to an internet cafe and demanded to see the article. They then spoke to the rest of the group and told them that they weren’t to speak to me at all.”
On arriving at the hostel, one of the party members told her that some of the others were so angry with her they wanted to physically harm her.
“He said they were threatening me with physical violence and I had to leave the party,” she said. (7)
..The call came when he discovered she had drafted a newspaper article about about the Conservative trip to teach English to Rwandan teachers in August 2009.
Miss Kinder, then 21, claimed the MP then contacted her father, saying he ‘did not blame’ party members for threatening his daughter with violence’.
She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘He was really, really angry. He then sent him a text which said: ‘They are threatening her with physical violence and I can’t say I blame them.’”
Miss Kinder was invited to Rwanda after work experience in Mr Mitchell’s private office. She was one of 100 volunteers who personally paid £2,000 to go on the trip.. (2)
Conservative MPs are [..] saying he has already infuriated new colleagues with “grand and pompous” behaviour.
Sources said Mr Mitchell has insisted on a getting a Government-funded ministerial car, even though his predecessor, Patrick McLoughlin, did not have one.
He has also raised eye-brows by ordering a re-design of his Chief Whip’s office. Shortly after moving job, he asked for new furniture and shunned the traditional Chief Whip’s desk used by former Prime Ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli
They said he has also requested new paintings for his room from the Government art department.
Colleagues said the minister’s temper has been even shorter than usual since his demotion from Development Secretary to Chief Whip, as he lost the perks of being a cabinet minister.
However, others said Mr Mitchell was also difficult to work with in the Department for International Development. One source said he kept a “joke machine” that said “bulls–t” to humiliate colleagues at the touch of a button during his time there. (13)
Shamed Andrew Mitchell’s official Jaguar has been scrapped by new Chief Whip Sir George Young.
The gas-guzzling car was ordered by Mr Mitchell after he discovered he would have to walk the 200 yards from Downing Street to Parliament.
..Two weeks after his appointment Mr Mitchell had demanded a dedicated vehicle to ferry him and other whips around the corner in Westminster.
While most ministers use an eco-friendly Toyota Prius, Mr Mitchell insisted on a Jaguar XF.
Mr Mitchell’s demand staggered civil servants since whips do not have public engagements.
..In his extraordinary resignation letter Mr Mitchell denied calling police officers ‘plebs’, as they have claimed, but admitted swearing at them, telling the Prime Minister he had said: ‘I thought you guys were supposed to ****ing help us.’
This appears to contradict an appearance in the Commons earlier this week when he was seen mouthing the words ‘I didn’t swear’. (5)
The abrasive Cabinet minister caused further consternation by appearing to change his story – insisting he did not swear at officers who told him he should use a side gate rather than have the main entrance specially opened for him and his bicycle.
..Under-fire Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell shouted across the Commons chamber that he did not swear at police, but the row refuses to go away.
..Mr Mitchell’s deputy John Randall had to be talked out of quitting last night, and sources said at least one other whip – whose job is to maintain party discipline – was considering resigning rather than work under him. (15)
Boris Johnson, the London Mayor who is in charge of policing in the capital [..] said that anyone who swore at the police should “expect” to be arrested, adding:
“If people feel there are no comebacks, no boundaries, no retribution for the small stuff, then they will go on to commit worse crimes.” (1)
..the Cabinet Minister admitted to a friend that he swore – contrary to earlier denials.
..It poses very serious questions about whether Mr Mitchell, 56, has misled the PM over what was said when police stopped him riding his bike out through Downing Street’s main gates.
..Mr Mitchell assured the PM last Thursday that he did NOT call the gun cops “plebs” or eff and blind at them.
..If the PM now concludes that Mr Mitchell has lied to him, he will have no option but to sack him on the spot. The report from the PC who faced the worst of Mr Mitchell’s rant confirms The Sun’s story last Friday that the politician used the F word repeatedly. (14)
David Cameron ordered senior officials to review the 40-second film in an attempt to find out if the police allegations, vehemently denied by Mr Mitchell, are true. But insiders say that after watching the CCTV, which has no sound, and unsuccessfully trying to lip-read Mr Mitchell, officials told the Prime Minister it is inconclusive. Mr Mitchell has been informed.
A source said: ‘The film shows Mitchell cycling up to the Downing Street gates. He waits there when the police refuse to open the gates. Then he gets off his bike and goes in via the pedestrian entrance. It is pretty obvious he is saying something. (6)
An eyewitness said Mr Mitchell, 56, also branded them “morons”.
..The row followed a similar stand-off on Tuesday night when Mr Mitchell was going home on his bike from the Whips’ office in Downing St and was also denied access through the main gate. (9)
[Attempt 1 refused: Tuesday night]
The newly-promoted Tory lost his rag when police told him security rules mean they open the main gate as little as possible.
They tried to usher him through a side gate used by all pedestrians. (9)
He insisted to the last that he never used the word “pleb”, but in the end, Andrew Mitchell decided that resigning was a lesser evil than revealing exactly what he did say to a policeman as he left Downing Street..
..it emerged the next day that one of the officers on duty at the gate was a woman. Earlier that week two female PCs had been shot dead in Manchester.. (16)
The police record, a contemporaneous note of the incident, clearly records him having used the term amid a flurry of expletives.
It details that, last Wednesday evening, Mr Mitchell was speaking to a female Pc, who is named in the log, “demanding exit through the main vehicle gate into Whitehall.” The Chief Whip was told that it was “policy” for cyclists to use a pedestrian gate but claimed that he “always used the main gates” and initially refused to do otherwise. (18)
Andrew Mitchell said he’d had a ‘long, frustrating day’ before his rant at police.
Yesterday it emerged part of that day had involved a curry lunch at the upmarket Cinnamon Club in Westminster.
There he ‘politely’ tucked into roasted plaice fillet with Bengali spiced crab (£9.50) and hot and sweet king prawns with basmati rice (£24).
After his Downing Street confrontation he is understood to have gone for another meal, at the Carlton Club in St James’s. (10)
[Attempt 2 refused: Wednesday evening]
..it emerged the Chief Whip attempted to disobey police twice in 24 hours.
It is understood Mr Mitchell tried again to cycle the through the main gates the morning after swearing at police who refused to let him through. (13)
..Just 12 hours after launching a foul-mouthed rant at officers who would not let him cycle through the main gates, the Tory Chief Whip returned the next morning and demanded to be let through again.
..A Whitehall source said: ‘He had another go the morning after and tried to go through the main gate but was told to use the pedestrian gate to the side.
‘This time there was no altercation or unpleasantness. But it’s still unbelievable.’ (10)
[Attempt 3 refused: Thursday morning]
Andrew Mitchell says he was sorry for his outburst. A fit of rage and a rant at police officers which even he admits was unacceptable behaviour.
..The heated row happened on Wednesday night, but again on Thursday morning the same request was made by the chief whip, who has an office in 9 Downing Street.
It inevitably raises questions about how sorry he really was for his outburst before this story became public.. (17)
Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant said the shamed former Chief Whip could be guilty of calling Downing Street cops “f****** plebs” after all.
The Sutton Coldfield MP obtained silent CCTV footage of the incident, which he said helped clear his name. But Mr Fabricant used his Twitter account to insist the clip was inconclusive.
He suggested the 46 seconds of film was too long for Mr Mitchell’s account of his comments – which lasts about 20 seconds – to be accurate. “What else was said?” he wrote.. (12)
Mr Hogan-Howe [the Metropolitan Police commissioner] said nothing made him doubt the account by two officers in an official log. It claimed that the minister had described them as “plebs” – a claim Mr Mitchell denies. (11)
Mr Hogan-Howe, who has publicly backed the officers involved, [..] said the original log was not contradicted by the CCTV footage. (22)
Most independent and comprehensive analysis of the CCTV footage:
[the real truth will out..]
No wonder so many of his colleagues feel that The Right Honourable more properly belongs amongst the Honourable Right.
Yes, if asked to believe the words of a senior Conservative politician regarding the Pleb-gate CCTV ‘evidence’ or those in ‘The Rest is Silence’ which expose the selfish financial incentives at work behind the weakening and gradual privatising of the police service, I’d suspect any interpretation by the politician or his acolytes.
But PC James Patrick has still been silenced.
I wonder if he knows something the Met believes we shouldn’t – does anyone care about free speech any more?
..because the Met certainly doesn’t.
List of sources for quotes above:
(8) The Guardian 16/12/12: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/16/police-officer-arrested-plebgate-row
(11) The Telegraph 29/12/12: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9770475/Knighthood-for-Bernard-Hogan-Howe-despite-plebgate-row.html
(14) The Sun 24/09/12: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4553515/.html
(20) Mail Online 1/01/13: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255838/How-money-squandered-foreign-aid.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
(22) Mail Online 22/12/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2252247/Plebgate-The-pivotal-policeman-Andrew-Mitchell-storm.html
UPDATE 15/10/13 re Plebgate:
UPDATE 25/10/13 re Plebgate:
“I have heard him use that word in private conversation – the pleb word, I mean,” Mr Portillo told BBC1’s This Week. “I didn’t believe he could have used it at the gates.” For the TRUTH re Mitchell’s fitness for office, despite shenanigans of later police Fed stirrers etc, see http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/definitive-video-shows-plebgate-should-not-damage-confidence-in-police-2
Fed Meeting Update Notes 25/10/13:
Yet from transcript – Fed: “we would all like you to tell us what you DID say”
+”you haven’t said what you did say”+”you haven’t been able to say what you actually did say”
Cameron lie 1: “he [Mitchell] gave a FULL ACCOUNT of what had happened”
PMQs Wed 17/10/13
Mitchell didn’t give a full account & still hasn’t – and even SAID so..
From transcript – AM: “I haven’t told you anything I haven’t said before..”
Meeting Transcript: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24537521
Cameron lie 2: “said last week..gave a FULL EXPLANATION of..”
No – last week: “ACCOUNT” (clearly untrue)
PMQs Wed 23/10/13
NO full explanation either as that would also require what he said in FULL
Why the change from a full ACCOUNT to EXPLANATION – because Mitchell in the meeting went to endless lengths to explain how he loved the police, how they loved him – and why he had avoided making a complaint (in order to avoid giving his full account under oath..)
And what do we now learn?
As Steve Walker warned, only a ‘choice’ selection of the Downing St CCTV footage from only some camera viewpoints was shown by Mitchell & Crick on C4
Original Plebgate analysis by Steve Walker correct
Who was it who once said he’d NEVER use a word such as “Pleb”?
: Fed Meeting Update Notes 25/10/13
PC James Patrick gave evidence under Parliamentary privilege last Tuesday, 19th Nov. 2013 at a specially convened morning session of the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, following an invitation by his local MP, Bernard Jenkin, the committee Chair.
The DPS had previously prevented him appearing for the same purpose last January following a similar invitation to appear at the Home Affairs Select Committee by its Chair, Keith Vaz.
[Quick link to the PASC session video & transcript, etc: http://provi.so]
UPDATE 26/11/13 re Plebgate:
CPS decisions in Operation Alice – incident at Downing Street on 19 September 2012:
So Andrew Mitchell, David Davis & C4’s Crick disseminated selective CCTV clips after all?
(Steve Walker likely to be vindicated – yet again..