Mullin Steps Forward in Defence of Mitchell

Article excerpt

FORMER North East MP Chris Mullin last night said it had been "obvious from the start" that there was more to the "plebgate" incident at the gates of Downing Street than met the eye.

Its central character, Andrew Mitchell, was forced to resign from his Cabinet post a month after allegations first surfaced about what he said to police officers while leaving on his bicycle.

Mr Mullin, the former Labour MP for Sunderland South, said he had known Mr Mitchell "for some years and I don't believe that he used most of the words attributed to him".

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He said it was it was beginning to look as though the former Tory Chief Whip Mr Mitchell "has been set up in some way".

Mr Mullen said when the Police Federation took up this issue "somehow they turned it into a national issue" and "I don't think it's in the public interest that the Police Federation should be allowed to reshuffle the Government." Earlier yesterday, Scotland Yard vowed to "get to the truth" of allegations that a police officer falsely claimed to have witnessed the "plebgate" row.

The officer is said to have written to his local MP, posing as a member of the public, giving details of the altercation.

Number 10 said the claims, which emerged after a member of the diplomatic protection squad was arrested, were "exceptionally serious".

The Metropolitan Police Service said today it was conducting a "thorough and well-resourced investigation" that could look at conspiracy.

In a statement, the Met said: "The allegation that a serving police officer fabricated evidence is extremely serious. …