Leaked 'Plebgate' email claims Andrew Mitchell continually ignored Downing St bicycle rules
Officer sought guidance from higher up over government chief whip's repeated refusal to use side gate
Andrew Mitchell, the former government chief whip at the centre of the 2012 'Plebgate' row, is reported to have clashed repeatedly with police officers by insisting on riding his bike through the main gates of Downing Street, rather than using a pedestrian side gate as he was supposed to do.
The claim has been made in a leaked email sent by a police officer to his superiors at 00:46am on 19 September 2012 - the very day of the incident in which Mr Mitchell was alleged to have sworn at officers and called them "plebs," something the Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield has always denied, although he did admit being "disrespectful."
In the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Times [£], the unnamed officer sought guidance over whether Mr Mitchell should be told to use the pedestrian gate,as stipulated in Downing Street rules regarding safety and security, or whether officers should make an exception for him given his repeated insistence that he should be allowed to ride his bike through the main gate.
The officer wrote: "When he [Mr Mitchell] was initially denied this, he went on to say 'I am the Government Chief Whip and I will be leaving via these gates. I have been in and out of these gates three times today and I will be leaving this way, thank you.'"
Because it was "quite late and quiet" and in order not to create an embarrassing scene, Mr Mitchell was allowed to leave via the main gate on that occasion.
The officer noted: "This rule [to use the pedestrian side gate] was brought in for the safety of the cyclist, officers and tourist/visitors at the front of the street and presumably for the general security of The Street and people in it."
With Mr Mitchell's apparent insistence he should be allowed to break that rule in conflict with the duty of the police officers guarding the gates to enforce it, the officer - with no little prescience, given the way the row would escalate the following day - asked for guidance of what to do.
"Can you please confirm, as I'm sure this will keep happening unless people of much higher rank or of standing in the street/house/government than me have an input, how would you suggest we play this?
"Do we just stand our ground (but have the backing of yourself if something comes of it in the future!) as it was already explained to him that it was for his safety, and for the security of the street, but on this occasion it would most certainly have brought serious repercussions on the officers etc, who decided on this occasiono use their discretion, or do we allow him (only) to use the main gates for his arrivals and departures at all times, as he was adamant he WAS GOING THROUGH THOSE GATES and he's the 'Government Chief Whip!'"
The email concluded: "He may also need to be advised, that for his own safety at least, that he may need to get some lights for his bike if he is going to ride it during hours of darkness!"
It appears that the concerns raised in the police officer's email came too late for a decision to be made prior to the events that evening which made national headlines and led to Mr Mitchell resigning from his cabinet position the following month.
Tendering his resignation to Prime Minister David Cameron, he wrote: "The offending comment and the reason for my apology to the police was my parting remark 'I thought you guys were supposed to f*cking help us.'
"It was obviously wrong of me to use such bad language and I am very sorry about it and grateful to the police officer for accepting my apology."
There was a further twist in December 2012 when it emerged a police constable with the diplomatic protection force had been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office in connection with his report of what had happened at the Downing Street gates on the evening in question, and two days later a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary raised doubts over the police version of events.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe ordered an investigation, and during 2013, eight people, five of them police officers, were arrested and bailed in connection with the incident.
In November, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which had critcised the findings of an internal Metropolitan Police report into the episde, said it was launching its own investigation and later that month said that five members of the force's diplomatic protection group would face gross misconduct proceedings.
Separately, Metropolitan Police officer Keith Wallis was charged with misconduct in a public office after sending his MP an email in which he claimed to have witnessed the Downing Street incident. Last week, at Westminster Magistrates' Court, he admitted the offence and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment.