Chief Whip Mitchell falls on his sword and resigns
GOVERNMENT chief whip Andrew Mitchell fell on his sword last night after admitting the row over his confrontation with Downing Street police made his position untenable.
After weeks of criticism, jibes and speculation over his future, Mr Mitchell said it was not fair to put his colleagues and family through such "damaging" stories any longer.
He insisted in a letter to the Prime Minister that he had not referred to an officer on the gate in Downing Street as either a "pleb" or a "moron" but acknowledged delivering, after being told he could not ride his bike through the main gates, the parting line: "I thought you guys were supposed to f****** help us."
Mr Mitchell has desperately clung to his position amid a mounting clamour over the past month for him to go. He did not attend last week's Conservative Party conference in Birmingham after admitting that his presence would be a distraction.
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He sought – and failed – to win over Police Federation members by meeting them and trying to explain his actions. Labour leader Ed Miliband maintained the pressure when MPs returned to Westminster this week, calling him "toast" during Prime Minister's Questions.
Mr Mitchell's fate is believed to have been sealed on Wednesday when deputy chief whip John Randall reportedly had to be talked out of quitting in protest at his determination to cling on.
In his resignation later to Mr Cameron last night, Mr Mitchell said: "Over the last two days it has become clear to me that whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter I will not be able to fulfil my duties as we both would wish. Nor is it fair to continue to put my family and colleagues through this upsetting and damaging publicity."