Andrew Mitchell will go on Thursday

That’s the consensus Uncut hears swirling around the ranks of senior Tories. Post-conference, the denouement of #gategate has acquired a new lethal inevitability. Hopes of a firebreak, with conference season giving space for the furore to subside, have been decisively dashed.

As members of parliament return to Westminster, Ministers and MPs who have fanned out over the weekend for media interviews are all reporting back the same message to the Tory whips: this problem is not going away.

These interviews were meant to have been an opportunity for the Tories to build on David Cameron’s speech and set the agenda before the start of the Autumn session. But, on every single occasion the questioning returned to Andrew Mitchell’s position.

It not only dragged the MPs back into territory that the Tories have been trying to escape, but also presents a uniquely difficult question to answer.

There’s no defending Mitchell’s conduct. His absence from Birmingham, despite being the Tories’ only Birmingham MP, was stark. The agreed line to take that he apologised and the police personnel involved have accepted the apology leaves too many unanswered questions:  what did he actually say? Why are the police federation calling for him to go? How long will this drag on?

The critical day is now Wednesday. PMQs will be dominated by Andrew Mitchell, who will then face the judgement of the Tories backbench 1922 committee later that day when it meets.

If he is sitting there, on the front bench at PMQs, the focus of Ed Miliband’s and Labour’s attack will be on him. The jeers and conveyor belt of questions will be all about the chief whip. The news bulletins will be about just one thing.

If Mitchell stays away from PMQs, like he stayed away from conference, the impact will be similar. The idea that the government’s chief whip can be scared off from entering the chamber is almost worse.

The logical move from Downing street would be to swallow their pride and cut Mitchell at the start of the week before PMQs can descend into a debacle. But the word among Tory MPs is that Number 10 will wait for two reasons.

First, they have bad judgement and will wait till the last moment and beyond, otherwise they would have acted already.

Second, they are trying to hold the line on Mitchell because of a broader power struggle with the police federation. If Mitchell goes then the federation will have won and the next time there’s a conflict with a minister over policing, as there inevitably will be, the precedent will have been set and the baying for ministerial blood will be immediate. Because of this they will try tough out PMQs before being forced to face reality on Wednesday evening.

That reality will be brought home to the leadership at the 1922 committee meeting where the chief whip’s inability to command the respect of his backbenches will be made absolutely clear.

Whether Number 10 displays good judgement and acts early or holds to past performance and is driven to a decision, Andrew Mitchell will be gone by the end of the week.

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6 Responses to “Andrew Mitchell will go on Thursday”

  1. Tris says:

    As always, they hang on and hang on till the bitter end. have they no sense of decency?

    The minute that it was reported by the police that he used the words ‘pleb’ and ‘moron’ and peppered his rant with F******, he had to go. He fitted the bill of a typical toff with complete disdain for people who, unlike him, hadn’t been born with a silver spoon, somewhere or other about their person.

    That Cameron took HIS word against the police was dangerous. If the police can lie over Andrew Mitchell, why would they not lie about Joe Bloggs? The prime minister has shown he accepts that they lie.

    I’d not say it wasn’t a difficult situation for Cameron, but hey, he wanted to be prime minister. He should have known it wan’t all hand shaking and cocktail parties with the royals.

  2. swatantra says:

    Stands to reason. The PM has just expressed full confidence in Mitch, so he’ll be gone by Thursday, falling on his own sword.
    Mitch hasn’t actually come out with what he actually said, but I have a feeling that it may nort have been ‘plebs’ or ‘oiks’ but the morevcommonplace ‘plods’, which on the face of it sounds very much like ‘plebs’ if screamed out with a siver spoon stuck in ones mouth. You try it.
    Lets hope Dave brings back Syeeda because we need more women and BAME in Cabinet.

  3. Vern says:

    I dont sit comfortably with the “he should resign” and “he should be sacked” attitude from people in power and this happens all too frequently from all parties.
    Mitchell should have been dealt the same punishment as others. A fine, comensurate with his level of earnings and he should have been made to undertake community service and attend a programme to teach him the errors of his ways and hopefully those values such as decency and respect.

  4. swatantra says:

    Of course they had to wait till Friday evening to bury the bad news.
    But Mitch is gone, and he won’t be back this side of the GE, unlike Laws.
    He’ll probably go to the City now and make bags of money.

  5. Vern says:

    Lets hope he can stay below the radar like Mandy did!! Disgraced, slung out a couple of times, allowed back in again and filling his pockets quite nicely too.
    People in glass houses….

  6. Bookwormbc says:

    The problem is far greater than the Mitchell case. The problem starts at least with the entry into the parliamentary offices of shadow minister, in order to get a whistle-blower wanted by the then Labour goverment. It continued when in late 2010 the police allowed Totenham Court Road to be looted, an attack on the royal family, and most significantly a group of pseodo-students to break into and strip Conservative HQ of documentation. The essential honesty of the Conservative Party is illustrated by the fact that very few press stories came to light following this. Finally in 2011 the police stood by and allowed London to be burned by, probably the same bunch of looters, hoping very much, (along with Ken Livingstone), that this would rebound on the goverment and not upon them.

    Some important questions – why did the officers at the gate stop Mr Mitchell going through the gate he normally used? It is unlikely that this was an accident. Who sent the supposed police log to the Telegraph? The answer to this question is likely to reveal the motive for the attack and their political connections. Finally what liaison was there between Mr Tully and police federation, not just with the Labour Party in London, but critically with Labour activists in the Midlands. The most damming part of the Channel 4 programme was that Mr Mitchell knew he could not trust Tully to reflect the discussions at all, and Tully portrayed Mitchell as arrogant and obstructive after the meeting. I am reasonable clear that the Police Confederation did not realise they had been recorded, and that it would be proved that this part of their ‘case’ would be shown to be a lie.

    There is a link with a much bigger story, Tom watson’s decision to toxify our politics by identifying the Conservative Party as paedophlic. On his web-site he repeatedly indicated that his main source for believing that there was a coverup of widespread abuse in order to protect “a ring” of paedophiles in the Thatcher cabinet, was sources from the Metroploitan Police, saying they wanted to pursue, (God knows who because Watson has never had the honesty to tell us), but were ordered by ‘superior officers’ to drop their investigations. Who are these sources, and I wonder would they overlap in anyway. He has subsequently removed almost all of this from his web-site.

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