So, the police officer who claimed to have witnessed former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell calling cops “plebs” has pleaded guilty to committing misconduct in public office between 19 September and 16 December 2012. So, Andrew Mitchell has been vindicated. Or has he?
Mitchell denied calling the police “plebs”, but he admitted swearing at the officers, saying “I thought you were supposed to fucking help us,” or similar. Now, we might expect to hear such language down town on a Saturday night – but is this the kind of behaviour we should accept from a government minister?
I say no. If a member of the general public talked to a cop like that, he’d be given a stern warning if not reported or arrested. And I think a government minister should be held to a higher standard. Mitchell should have been sacked for swearing at the police. But so much has been made of the alleged use of the term “pleb”, everyone is forgetting that he used obscene language remonstrating police officers just because they wouldn’t open the main Downing Street gates for him and his bicycle.
So okay, PC Keith Wallis misrepresented himself as a member of the public in a letter to his MP and blatantly lied about witnessing Mitchell using the word “pleb”. Wallis is now going to be punished – probably sent to prison – for the serious offence of misconduct in public office. But I say that Mitchell is also guilty of misconduct in public office by swearing at police officers in the street. Some commentators are now saying that Mitchell should be reinstated to a ministerial position. But really he should join Wallis in a jail cell. Government members like to pretend they’re somehow better than the rest of us, lording over us and telling us what’s best for us; so when one of them is found to be a foul-mouthed yob with no respect for common decency he should be punished more than one of us mere mortals would be.