Andrew Mitchell has quit as government chief whip after weeks of pressure over an argument with police officers in Downing Street.
The Tory MP has admitted swearing at officers in the incident but again denied calling police “plebs”.
He told David Cameron – who has stood by him – that “damaging publicity” meant he could no longer do his job. Former Commons leader Sir George Young will be the new chief whip, Downing Street said.
Mr Mitchell’s resignation is a victory for the Police Federation and Labour who have led calls for him to go. But it spells the end of a 25-year political career for the Sutton Coldfield MP, who was promoted from international development secretary to chief whip in September’s cabinet reshuffle.
BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said Mr Mitchell told the prime minister about his decision in person, at Mr Cameron’s country residence Chequers.
The prime minister has accepted his resignation…
Mr Mitchell – whose job was to maintain discipline on the Conservative benches – was thrust into the spotlight when The Sun accused him in a front page story of calling police “plebs”.
His outburst came after armed police stopped him from cycling through the main Downing Street gate, instead directing him to the smaller pedestrian gate.
He is reported to have used foul language and told the officer at the gates to “learn your place” and “you don’t run this government”.
- BBC News