Mitchell again denies 'pleb' jibe

Andrew Mitchell told a local paper he blamed the national media for 'blowing up' his argument with police

Andrew Mitchell told a local paper he blamed the national media for 'blowing up' his argument with police

First published in National News © by

Chief whip Andrew Mitchell believes his row with Downing Street police officers has been "blown out of all proportion by the national media", he has told a local newspaper.

The MP, accused of calling police plebs and morons when they told him he could not take his bike through the main gates, told the Sutton Coldfield Observer: "I have apologised and I hope it's possible to draw a line under it."

He added: "I think most people who know me know I would not use words like pleb or moron in describing anyone. I would gently point out that I did not say the words that have been ascribed to me."

In the front-page interview with the newspaper - a free weekly publication in his constituency - Mr Mitchell echoed his initial apology, admitting that he "did not treat police with the respect they deserve", and said he had "apologised profusely" to the officer involved.

He told the newspaper he has an "excellent relationship" with the police and regularly visits the local police station.

Hitting out at media coverage of the altercation, Mr Mitchell said: "I hope my constituents and friends in Sutton Coldfield will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press."

According to a 442-word police log - published in full in the Daily Telegraph - Mr Mitchell called officers "f****** plebs" and told them to "learn your f****** place".

The female officer who made the report said she warned him that if he continued to swear, she would have no option but to arrest him under the Public Order Act - a stance backed by senior Tory Boris Johnson.

The MP's angry outburst last Wednesday came a day after two policewomen were killed in a gun and grenade attack in Greater Manchester. Fiona Bone, 32, and Nicola Hughes, 23, were killed as they went to answer a routine 999 call to a burglary on the Hattersley estate in Tameside.

The chief whip said: "My heart goes out to the families of the police officers who have lost their lives. I think that we must always support the police, they do an incredibly difficult job very well across our country."

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