Why did the Chief Whip try to get the gate opened a second time?
Tory Vice Chairman “doubts Mitchell account”
I did vow yesterday to leave it out on Plebgate, but 24 hours later here we are again with damning new evidence both of Andrew Mitchell’s potential for disinformation, and the Conservative Party’s capacity to tear itself apart.
Although the Daily Mail soon after the original altercation event ran a curio piece wondering why the Chief Whip had gone through the bike/gate shtick again within a matter of hours, in the light of minute examination of the CCTV footage carried out by soi-disant Team Mitchell captain David Davis, this event has taken on a completely new significance. To quote from the Mail piece:
‘A Whitehall source said: “He had another go the morning after and tried to go through the main gate but was told to use the pedestrian gate to the side. This time there was no altercation or unpleasantness. But it’s still unbelievable.”
Seen as unbelievable arrogance then, does it look more like incredible cunning now? The question on many a lip in Westminster this morning (among those not already on the train back to the constituency) was “How certain is David Davis that he was examining the genuine footage of the original alleged offence?”
At the time of my first post on Plebgate, a Tory backbencher told me how widely disliked Mitchell is. Today he told me (having read last night’s post here) “I read the Sunday Times thing he wrote, and didn’t believe a word of it”. Meanwhile, higher-ups in the Party have come clean to the MSM overnight, with the Daily Telegraph running a piece openly doubting Mitchell’s account, using no less a personage than Tory Vice-Chairman Michael Fabricant…..not to be confused with Mitchell Fabricate, an entirely different individual. Fabricant pointed out, “it would be easier to believe Mr Mitchell if he were invariably polite and courteous….no-one comes out of it smelling of roses: neither the police nor Andrew”.
Fabricant (himself a former whip) claims the 46-second CCTV footage is actually too long for Mr Mitchell’s conflicting account of his comments to be accurate. He used his Twitter account to question what was said by Mr Mitchell in the “missing” seconds and said Channel 4’s recent investigation into the incident suggests the encounter was shorter than it actually was.
Significantly, Michael Fabricant called for “a closer look at the CCTV evidence”.
This is yet more thing that won’t be all over by Christmas.