Definitive video shows Plebgate should not damage confidence in police

The Chair of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz, is quoted in today’s Sunday Telegraph and on BBC News as saying that

Public confidence in the police has been shaken after failures over the way officers responded to the Hillsborough disaster, and new disclosures over the “Plebgate” controversy

and calling for a public inquiry into policing.

Nobody can question that the Hillsborough disaster was a catastrophe for those affected by it, or that it cast the South Yorkshire police of the time in a very grim light. But to put that tragedy – which happened over 2 decades ago – alongside ‘disclosures over the “Plebgate” controversy” in order to describe public confidence in the police as ‘shaken’ is to give the supposed ‘disclosures’, by former Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and his supporters via Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ programme, a weight and credence that they simply do not deserve.

The BBC News channel went further. Showing a very brief clip of the CCTV footage of Andrew Mitchell leaving Downing Street, a commentator’s voiceover today says:

This CCTV  footage of a brief encounter in Downing St between police officers and Andrew Mitchell MP raised new questions about the police role in the ‘Plebgate’ row.

I wrote, in the very early hours of Christmas morning, about this footage – and how a proper analysis of it reveals that it is very far from corroborating the claims of Mr Mitchell and his allies of ‘exoneration’.

That post has, to date, been the 2nd-most read post since I started this blog, so clearly ‘Plebgate’ is a matter of significant public interest – and one which Mr Mitchell and his supporters are now evidently keen to use to turn public opinion against the police so that he can campaign to get his old job back, or perhaps another senior ministerial post.

I believe that a careful watching of the CCTV footage shows clearly that the police log is not demonstrated to be untrue by it. However, a few comments on the blog post and on Twitter have made me think that perhaps the matter needs to be made clearer still.

So, I’ve spent the last day or so trying to learn a few new (and very basic) video-editing skills, in order to be able to put the footage and my commentary together in a single, straightforward video to shine a more accurate light on the CCTV images than I believe has been done by ‘Dispatches’, by BBC News, or by any other of the mainstream media so far.

Until and unless Mr Mitchell, or someone else, is prepared to provide the full, uncut footage from every CCTV camera with a view of the gate at the relevant time, including sound where available, I believe that this video can claim to be the definitive analysis of the footage made available so far.

I hope the fact that this is no doubt a very amateurish first attempt will not distract you from the evidence itself!

Please note that the video has no sound – intentionally, to let the images speak for themselves without distracting commentary by Mr Mitchell or any TV presenters:


  1. This is part of the first footage to appear. Later versions must always be suspect. Not much doubt who is “fixing” the evidence. What is disturbing is the indication of what The Conservatives ruling alone would be like; this affair is a dire warning to us all.

  2. Really good blog and a nice antidote to the spin being put on this currently. Thanks for doing the work this must have taken.

  3. The video(s) – without revealing by way of a concurrent and accurate soundtrack proving exactly what was said at the time – proves little. Vaz is correct though when he states that public confidence in the Police has been (further) shaken by “the new disclosures of the Plebgate controversy” meaning – surely – the suggestion that an officer has lied in the contents an e-mail which he has sent to an MP. Whether he has committed an offence by so doing is open to debate.

    1. But even Mitchell himself admits to swearing. And we see the cctv shows several people outside. The argument is over the use of the word ‘pleb’. Either way, who’s in the wrong here? Swearing at cops just doing their job, or the cops for raising it and telling the (undisputed) truth that he swore at them for simply doing their job? The mention of an email sent had nothing to do with the cops at the gate, however they were all arrested….and Mitchell wasn’t. Something about that makes me very uncomfortable.

  4. Your analysis of the video is the most definitive I have seen. It’s mentioned in the comments here. http://www.policeoracle.com/news/Staff+Association+News/2012/Dec/24/Plebgate-Fed-Announces-Restructuring-Probe_59400.html
    And many other places. All the arguments I’ve seen against your analysis appear insubstantial and notably do not link to any more thorough analysis.
    Much has been written about Hillsborough and the lack of openness regarding the primary cause of the lack of a coordinated response. Those who quote Hillsborough are on far more shaky ground than they most likely realise.

  5. I believe all those who wish to juxtapose Plebgate and Hillsborough should listen to these two gentlemen from 3:00 minutes onwards then ask themselves if in fact they know what they are talking about.

  6. Only mentioning it because so many mention Hillsborough and Plebgate in the same breath. You don’t have to do that, you could just stick with Plebgate and the careful analysis seen in this blog.

  7. The Right Honourable Andrew Mitchell MP vs Police Constable James Patrick: contrasting cases/supportive background history (apologies for length, please move or delete if insufficiently relevant)

    If asked to believe the words of a senior Conservative politician regarding CCTV ‘evidence’ or those in the new cult book ‘The Rest is Silence’ which expose the selfish financial incentives at work behind the weakening and gradual privatising of the police service, I’d suspect the politician and respect the author. At least James Patrick honestly tries to warn the public of the increased safety and security risks to them due to these policies (http://amzn.to/X5brrw):

    ‘Weeks before his resignation, the Met launched an investigation into how the Sun was leaked an internal report suggesting Mitchell did call the police “plebs”.
    The tabloid, which broke the original story about the incident, said it had seen a police report of the incident, prepared for senior officers, which indicated that Mitchell also swore repeatedly at officers.
    ..The Guardian reported this month how another constable – James Patrick – was being investigated for gross misconduct for a series of blogs and tweets – which he turned into a book [“The Rest is
    Silence”] detailing his belief that reform of the police service is putting the public at risk.'(8: source list further below)

    PC James Patrick, of course, has been silenced – instructed “not to have contact with the public” – by the Met management, who allege that “some of the contents of the book could be harmful to the
    reputation of the police service and adversely impact on public confidence”. (http://www.kaimtodner.com/news/2012/12/04/media_statement__pc_james_patrick.asp)

    This is quite a contrast with The Right Honourable..
    At one stage as a backbencher [Mitchell] had six directorships with Lazard and a financial consultancy earning him hundreds of thousands a year in addition to his MP’s salary.
    Despite his fortune, it emerged during the Commons expenses scandal that Mr Mitchell had claimed 13p for Tippex and 45p for a stick of glue on his parliamentary expenses.
    ‘They are legitimate office expenses,’ he said at the time.(2)
    He also has a £300,000 terraced house in his Midlands constituency of Sutton Coldfield. During the MPs’ expenses scandal it was revealed he had claimed more than £12,000 for cleaning, redecorating, gardening and furnishing at the home.(10)
    A senior civil servant, who worked with him when he was a Welfare Minister in John Major’s government in the late 1990s, contacted The Mail on Sunday and said: ‘One of the chauffeurs told me he ordered his driver to use his official government car to collect his dry cleaning from the laundry.’(6)
    His neighbours say he has managed to fall out with them a number of times..
    One resident .. said “..we’ve had some horrendous disputes over the years .. It has been a nightmare .. He is a very rude and arrogant man .. They’re the type of family who are always right.”
    Another neighbour said he had to pull the Tory politician up after he allegedly spoke curtly to his wife.
    “We knew them before they had money, power and these houses and they’ve always been like that”
    “Mitchell would say I’m a partner at Lazard and an MP – in that order”, he said. “Says it all, doesn’t it?”
    ..A sarcastic constituent even emailed him to say: ‘Dear Mr Mitchell, I note you are both a politician and a banker. Do you have plans to train as an estate agent?’(2)
    Earlier this year he was revealed to be a major investor in a network of offshore companies (owned by a parent company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands) that, according to the
    authorities, was guilty of ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ by using a loophole to dodge paying £2.6million in stamp duty.
    This didn’t sit very well with Chancellor George Osborne’s attack on tax avoidance as ‘morally repugnant’ and his vow to come down ‘like a ton of bricks’ on anyone who sought to evade stamp duty.
    Labour MPs accused Mr Mitchell of hypocrisy and pointed to the fact that he had talked about one tax avoidance scheme some years before, saying: ‘It is disgraceful that anyone should try to
    perpetrate such a scheme. These people should pay the right amount.’
    ..Curiously for a chief whip who preaches the virtue of loyalty, he showed none to Iain Duncan Smith who was the Tory leader in 2001, the year Mr Mitchell returned to Westminster. He made no
    secret of his contempt and plotted openly to bring him down.
    Following Mr Duncan Smith’s fall, he backed the favourite candidate, David Davis. But, true to his single-minded ambition, he soon became a fervent supporter of Mr Cameron when he emerged
    victorious from the race.

    Even his admirers admit he is a shameless chameleon. Gyles Brandreth, the former Tory MP turned author, describes Mr Mitchell as ‘the most ambitious man I know – almost crazy with ambition’.

    Having never expressed any interest in the subject of international aid as a backbencher, he enthusiastically accepted the role of International Development Secretary in Mr Cameron’s cabinet.(2)
    Andrew Mitchell overruled Foreign Office advice to hand £16million of British aid money to a controversial African dictator accused of fuelling a bloody civil war.
    A senior Foreign Office source told the Daily Mail that Mr Mitchell’s decision to lift the freeze on aid to Paul Kagame’s Rwandan regime was a ‘mistake’ which would damage Britain’s reputation for
    standing up against human rights abuses.
    Mr Mitchell, now David Cameron’s chief whip, is reported to have overruled his own civil servants by making the decision in his final hours as International Development Secretary last month.
    Half of the money will go directly into the Rwandan government’s coffers – despite fears that it will be used to fund a murderous rebellion in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo
    One human rights campaigner yesterday described the move as a ‘parting favour’ to President Kagame, a personal friend of Mr Mitchell.(3)
    Most of the visits related to Project Umabano, the voluntary project set up by Mr Mitchell and David Cameron in 2007 to help ‘detoxify’ their party’s uncaring image.
    The revelations will focus fresh attention on the unlikely friendship between Mr Mitchell and Kagame, whose regime is accused of repression against political opponents at home and arming a
    murderous rebellion in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
    Internal DFID documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that in a phone call in February 2011 the men discussed Mr Mitchell’s decision to increase aid to Rwanda from
    £60million a year to £90million, much of it poured into the Kagame regime’s coffers as ‘budget support’.
    A memo recorded: ‘Secretary of State said this reflected the UK’s long-term support to Rwanda (including from the PM, who had visited as leader of the Opposition in 2006).President Kagame was
    very grateful.’
    Two months earlier Mr Mitchell had flown to Rwanda to see Kagame for a ‘90-minute tete-a-tete followed by lunch’ in which they had ‘friendly but robust’ exchanges.
    That meeting followed Kagame’s controversial re-election with 93 per cent of the vote.(4)
    “The trip was lead by a delegation of senior Tory MPs including Mr Mitchell, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the then shadow minister for international development, and Nick Hurd.
    ..”I found myself in a class of 45 who could barely speak a word of English,” [Lucy Kinder] wrote.
    “Progress was frustrating and the Ministry of Education did little to make this easier. It made a mockery of our fortnight. We have been instructing teachers who were hungry, tired and disillusioned.
    “No explanation was given as to why the organisers of Project Umubano were so ill-informed about the situation. Even these bright sparks in the Conservative Party could not prevent the Rwandans they had gone to help falling prey to the problems that afflict the African continent.”
    Mr Mitchell .. was unimpressed. After learning of the article, which she had submitted in draft form to The Independent, Ms Kinder says he called at around midnight during a coach journey to Dar
    Es Salaam to express his anger.
    “He was furious,” she said. “He accused me of going behind his back and betraying the Conservative Party.
    “He told me he couldn’t believe I had written such a damaging article and that he would make sure it wouldn’t be published..”
    On arrival in Zanzibar, she was met by two Conservative Party aides who had flown in from Rwanda.
    She said: “They took me to an internet cafe and demanded to see the article. They then spoke to the rest of the group and told them that they weren’t to speak to me at all.”
    On arriving at the hostel, one of the party members told her that some of the others were so angry with her they wanted to physically harm her.
    “He said they were threatening me with physical violence and I had to leave the party,” she said.(7)
    ..The call came when he discovered she had drafted a newspaper article about about the Conservative trip to teach English to Rwandan teachers in August 2009.
    Miss Kinder, then 21, claimed the MP then contacted her father, saying he ‘did not blame’ party members for threatening his daughter with violence’.
    She told the Daily Telegraph: ‘He was really, really angry. He then sent him a text which said: ‘They are threatening her with physical violence and I can’t say I blame them.'”
    Miss Kinder was invited to Rwanda after work experience in Mr Mitchell’s private office. She was one of 100 volunteers who personally paid £2,000 to go on the trip..(2)
    Shamed Andrew Mitchell’s official Jaguar has been scrapped by new Chief Whip Sir George Young.
    The gas-guzzling car was ordered by Mr Mitchell after he discovered he would have to walk the 200 yards from Downing Street to Parliament.
    ..Two weeks after his appointment Mr Mitchell had demanded a dedicated vehicle to ferry him and other whips around the corner in Westminster.
    While most ministers use an eco-friendly Toyota Prius, Mr Mitchell insisted on a Jaguar XF.
    Mr Mitchell’s demand staggered civil servants since whips do not have public engagements.

    ..In his extraordinary resignation letter Mr Mitchell denied calling police officers ‘plebs’, as they have claimed, but admitted swearing at them, telling the Prime Minister he had said: ‘I thought you guys were supposed to ****ing help us.’
    This appears to contradict an appearance in the Commons earlier this week when he was seen mouthing the words ‘I didn’t swear’.(5)
    Boris Johnson, the London Mayor who is in charge of policing in the capital [..] said that anyone who swore at the police should “expect” to be arrested, adding: “If people feel there are no comebacks, no boundaries, no retribution for the small stuff, then they will go on to commit worse crimes.” (1) [- too late?]
    David Cameron ordered senior officials to review the 40-second film in an attempt to find out if the police allegations, vehemently denied by Mr Mitchell, are true. But insiders say that after watching the CCTV, which has no sound, and unsuccessfully trying to lip-read Mr Mitchell, officials told the Prime Minister it is inconclusive. Mr Mitchell has been informed.
    A source said: ‘The film shows Mitchell cycling up to the Downing Street gates. He waits there when the police refuse to open the gates. Then he gets off his bike and goes in via the pedestrian
    entrance. It is pretty obvious he is saying something.(6)
    An eyewitness said Mr Mitchell, 56, also branded them “morons”.
    ..The row followed a similar stand-off on Tuesday night when Mr Mitchell was going home on his bike from the Whips’ office in Downing St and was also denied access through the main gate.(9)
    Andrew Mitchell said he’d had a ‘long, frustrating day’ before his rant at police.
    Yesterday it emerged part of that day had involved a curry lunch at the upmarket Cinnamon Club in Westminster.
    There he ‘politely’ tucked into roasted plaice fillet with Bengali spiced crab (£9.50) and hot and sweet king prawns with basmati rice (£24).
    After his Downing Street confrontation he is understood to have gone for another meal, at the Carlton Club in St James’s.(10)
    Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant said the shamed former Chief Whip could be guilty of calling Downing Street cops “f****** plebs” after all.
    The Sutton Coldfield MP obtained silent CCTV footage of the incident, which he said helped clear his name. But Mr Fabricant used his Twitter account to insist the clip was inconclusive.
    He suggested the 46 seconds of film was too long for Mr Mitchell’s account of his comments – which lasts about 20 seconds – to be accurate. “What else was said?” he wrote..(12)
    Mr Hogan-Howe [the Metropolitan Police commissioner] said nothing made him doubt the account by two officers in an official log. It claimed that the minister had described them as “plebs” – a
    claim Mr Mitchell denies. (11)
    Most comprehensive analysis of the CCTV footage: the truth will out..



    (1) Telegraph 21/09/12: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9559043/Andrew-Mitchell-under-pressure-to-quit-after-police-suggest-he-DID-call-them–plebs.html
    (2) Mail Online 21/09/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2206484/Andrew-Mitchell-Ill-job-said-yelled-officer-stopped-riding-bike.html
    (3) Mail Online 3/10/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2212027/Mitchell-insisted-handout-dictator–16m-aid-parting-favour-friend-Rwanda.html
    (4) Mail Online 8/10/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2214367/Andrew-Mitchell-trips-Rwanda-16m-aid-handout-Friendship-leader-hardline-regime-revealed.html
    (5) Mail Online 25/10/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2222871/New-Chief-Whip-cancels-Andrew-Mitchells-luxury-Jaguar-happy-walk-200-yards-No-10-Parliament.html
    (6) Mail Online 30/09/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2210655/Andrew-Mitchell-CCTV-footage-calling-police-plebs-inconclusive.html
    (7) Telegraph 21/09/12: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9559013/Andrew-Mitchell-said-he-did-not-blame-people-who-wanted-to-hurt-aid-volunteer.html
    (8) The Guardian 16/12/12: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/dec/16/police-officer-arrested-plebgate-row
    (9) The Sun 22/09/12: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4549265/Andrew-Mitchell-insults-police-at-Downing-Street-by-calling-them-fing-plebs.html
    (10) Mail Online 25/09/12: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208653/Chief-Whip-Andrew-Mitchell-second-bid-cycle-Downing-Street-gates.html
    (11) The Telegraph 29/12/12: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9770475/Knighthood-for-Bernard-Hogan-Howe-despite-plebgate-row.html
    (12) The Sun 26/12/12: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4713363/Tory-party-vice-chairman-Fabricant-No-pleb-stitch-up.html

  8. A useful video which I have included a link to but awaiting its next version. Skywalker acknowledges he did not take account of the ‘witness email’ (crowds of tourists some filming at the main gate)..er if he thought the gates were going to open wouldnt boomerang man move out the way and if it made such an impression on him why hasnt boomerang man or anyone else come forward?

    Sky News – John Tully calls for an enquiry
    “Why are you taking this so badly?”

    this link is sky news andrew mitchell 25th september then scan down to comment 5,6 for what Met Police said of the CCTV, no irate discussion and finger waving at the main gates,

    remember even John Tully (he of the Metropolitan Police Federation) now says he thought the ‘log’ email was a fake at the time,

    all media links are on http://www.plebgate.org.uk and well er why arrest 3 cops including the No 10 female officer? keep at it though skywalker!

    timeline of events http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9562752/Andrew-Mitchell-timeline-of-how-the-plebs-scandal-unfolded.html

    what the above shows is that someone was telling porky pies. lies. It does not exonerate Andrew Mitchell but it does show that even the Police Federation acknowledges the No 10 cops evidence is ‘damaged’ and well you cant have slightly damaged evidence can you?

    1. Mr Tully doesn’t appear to think he thought it fake at all. He said he’d been unable to verify it, which is not the same thing. I’ve added to the article to the same effect: if the log is really ‘nothing like a police log’ it would be easy to compare to the pads the officers on Downing St use and say for certain that it’s fake.

      If that was the case, Mr Mitchell and his friends/media would be shouting it from the rooftops.

    2. Realised I forgot to address your B-man question. Perhaps he doesn’t want to get involved in a media circus? I couldn’t blame him too much for that.

      Perhaps he’s foreign and has no idea it’s all going on.

      There could be various reasons, but I suspect these two are the most likely.

  9. I do have a bit more for you. The Fed now acknowledge a legitimate campaign focussed on Andrew Mitchells record in getting a 34% budget increase for his then role in International Development contrasted with 20% police cuts did go out to ad agencies in July. It looks like the toxic comments were grafted onto this as a seperate exercise.

    True John Tully is a little hard to follow. In the Sun’s piece “I have spoken to the officer…” on sky news “I have spoken to the officer….” and by the evening “I have not spoken to the officer”. So I have dismissed all his quotes as evidence. I am though interested in James Lyons of the Mirrors work. The original ‘plebs’ story on 30 April 2011 ran into the Royal Wedding Souvenir Edition. The Mirror piece on 22nd September contained the intelligence that Mitchell had lost his rag and had to apologise three times before (not bad in 27 years!) however that has been unechoed and is probably bogus.

    IDS’s leadership ran into early and widespread difficulties. When I was active back in 2001 I attended a large and hostile east midlands area meeting and mine was the only voice raised in his support. A friend had been his colonel when he was serving on the streets of Northern ireland so I knew he had something about him.

    The stream of a pukka chap like Mitchell being rude to women stories did puzzle me until it came out the No 10 cop was a woman. On the CCTV the Daily Mail carried the story on 29th September of no irate fingerwaving etc so it did get out there and the story promptly died.

    Labour then campaigned in October alongside the Fed on the integrity of the officers being impugned and ‘he wont tell us what he did say’ even though he had. We now know (from Sir Jeremy Heywoods appearance) that the No 10 cops did not record the use of the word plebs which is another ‘shocker’ if the ‘witness’ being an off duty officer wasnt ‘shocker’ enough.

    I have been struck by Andrew Mitchells 27 years of service, He was a whip, conservative vice chairman and junior minister under John Major. Mitchell has featured in Islington politics and has a very liberal voting record and real achievements in global poverty and international development. This is the sort of One Nation Conservative record experienced Labour figures are sympathetic to. It has also made me wonder at the comment that the No 10 cops had difficulty identifying him (and knowing that as an ex soldier he drops the odd f word) though of course all four could be new to the job.

    Thats about all we can usefully say before the IPCC report. I think Boomerang man is key. If bombers can be tracked from Leeds by CCTV you can be sure boomerang man is not anonymous and may be a key development. A second cop marches quickly over to where he is at the end of your video.

    The good thing about the legal action is that this will now come before a judge. Much better than a parliamentary enquiry. A fair judgement can be counted on.

    1. Interesting comments. Like you, I await the outcome of the enquiry now. One thing to bear in mind, though – the 2nd cop marching over appears to be because he needs to open the outer gate to let Mr Mitchell complete his exit, rather than anything to do with Boomerang Man.

  10. Reblogged this on The SKWAWKBOX Blog and commented:

    BBC News is today saying that a Police Complaints Commission report states that there has not been a proper inquiry into the ‘Plebgate’ row, in which MP and former Tory Chief Whip resigned over accusations that he had called police ‘f***ing plebs’.
    Watch as Tory spin doctors try to make this statement mean that the police did wrong and Mr Mitchell is ‘exonerated’ (as was already claimed months ago when no such thing was true). But that’s not what it means at all – it’s a criticism of process, not of the facts or otherwise of the case.
    Mr Mitchell has previously claimed that footage shows there was no opportunity for him to have had a row with police – but, as this analysis demonstrates, the footage shows nothing of the sort, and supports the police account rather than undermining it.
    Please spread the word again, to get ahead of the inevitable new bout of weaseling to try to restore this odious man to the Cabinet.

  11. Reblogged this on RetiredAndAngry and commented:
    The CCTV that Channel 4 used appears to have had the time stamp tampered with on at least one of the tapes;
    The odious Mitchell has never told us what he DID say, only what he claims he didn’t say;
    He has yet to make any formal complaint against the officers concerned.
    So how on earth does he have any credibility. All I actually want is for the TRUTH to come out, whatever that truth is.

  12. Yes, from the meeting transcript, it’s clear AM has one aim, to ‘move on’ rather than make the official complaint necessary to clarify under oath who told the truth about what he said:


    He repeats what he didn’t say, mentions something he says he did say but still won’t elaborate (as the Fed man said afterwards) what his own notes, made 2 days later, included in full.

  13. In the The Times today (12/02/14), a THIRD officer in the diplomatic protection service at the time (now retired) reiterates his 100% support for the colleague who stated that Mitchell used the word ‘plebs’ disparagingly against the police:


    NB: The SECOND officer who was in the diplomatic protection service at the time (Pete Johnson, also now retired) pledged his 100% support in these columns some time ago, on 15/10/2013 at 8:27 pm:


    The score so far?
    3 of the most honest cops you could meet (ignoring all supervening intruders leaking emails, getting Fed up in meetings with AM, etc etc)
    – vs –
    1 ‘Hon’ Tory

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