Did you see Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell's public statement today?
I managed to see it just as I was about to leave for work this morning at 8:00. Ok he did apologise for not showing the police officer in question enough respect; but what we all wanted to know was whether he called the officer a pleb or not.
We still don't have the answer.
As I turned off the tv to head out I thought to myself 'what a pleb'.
This is such a ridiculous incident, but it's the sort of thing that can begin life as a trivial matter before escalating into something quite serious. Andrew Mitchell seems to be doing his best to drag this out.
As Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, his role is to maintain the MP discipline in the Party. The role requires someone who isn't afraid to step on a few toes and colorful forthright language is only to be expected.
His statement today hasn't brought a line under this episode, and what he did or didn't say still remains unclear.
He said he didn't use the words attributed to him, which includes the word pleb, but this contradicts the quotes by the police officer. Is he calling the officer a liar? Or is he still not being honest about what he did say?
This story should have been put to bed at the end of last week, but the longer it goes on the more damaging it becomes. Not only for Andrew Mitchell, by also the Conservatives who are already sensitive to the charge that they are arrogant and out of touch with ordinary people.
The 'Plebgate' story subsequently took a dramatic turn when details began to emerge that Andrew Mitchell may have been the victim of a conspiracy to destroy his career.
Plebgate: Andew Mitchell claims he was victime of police ‘stich-up’