At the start of last week, Uncut predicted Andrew Mitchell’s demise. On Monday 15th October we said he would be gone on Thursday. In the event it turned out his departure was announced on Friday, though he actually made his decision to quit on Thursday.
Now, Uncut hears he is plotting his revenge.
It has been widely reported that he quit after concluding that he had lost the confidence of the 2010 intake of Conservative MPs. True. But this is only half of the story.
Andrew Mitchell had also concluded that, given the state of the media firestorm, he could not mount the robust defence needed to clear his name, while still chief whip.
He remains convinced that he has been the victim of a political hit job by the police federation. Friends of Mitchell say that despite the battering he took at the hands of the media, he will not give up.
More than his notorious temper or a desire for revenge, his primary motivation is his career. Andrew Mitchell is not prepared to accept this as the end.
In 1997, he was a rising star, destined for the cabinet when he lost his formerly safe seat in Gedling. That could have been it. Many others accepted their fate. But not Mitchell, he came back from that disaster, returned to parliament and made it into cabinet.
The former chief whip accepts it will be difficult, but he sees a route back to centre stage and is more determined than ever to get his side of the story across.
Mitchell’s defence will rest on a stopwatch.
He will compare the time it would have taken for the exchange, as recorded by the police in their log, with the time taken for the exchange as set out in his account.
The CCTV footage of the incident will demonstrate which of the two versions is nearest to reality. Friends of Mitchell say it is almost impossible for everything recorded by the police to have been said in the time he was at the gate.
Mitchell is waiting for the right time to strike back, letting the dust settle and giving space for the government and prime minister to move on from the disasters of last week.
When he launches his attack, Uncut hears that the former chief whip will have plenty of support from parliamentary colleagues who were less than forthcoming in backing him to keep his job.
The consensus on the Tory benches, and quietly on the Labour benches, is that the police federation over reached. There is a feeling that the federation are being led by the “Scargill tendency.”
Even among Labour MPs, many of whom busily retweet police federation attacks on the government, there is a deep fear of what this organisation could do to a Labour government.
Few in the house of commons will shed a tear if the police federation has its wings clipped as a result of Mitchell’s return to the fray.