The revelations in the Murdoch Sunday Times – of which I have a modestly decent copy, so no need for paywall payments (see what I did there, Rupe?) – reinforce what Michael Crick of Channel 4 News had already established, namely that the facts of what became known as Plebgate were significantly at variance with the official Police accounts, which in turn had been leaked to the press.
That's what I think of youse accuracy whinges, Pommie bastards!
Put directly, the ST is saying that former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell had been targeted and goaded into the alleged outburst during which he, according to the rozzers, called them “plebs”. This, in turn, resulted from a deterioration in the relationship between Young Dave’s jolly good chaps and the Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) of the Metropolitan Police, who guard Downing Street.
Is Andrew Mitchell in trouble still? That depends on which Murdoch title you read, it seems
When Mitchell arrived on his bike at the Downing Street gates the fateful evening, already late for a speaking engagement, he would not have known that he was being set up. The cops certainly did know: a totally untrue statement from a “member of the public”, who turned out to be an Police officer who was not there at the time, incriminating Mitchell, was soon circulated. Rather too soon, it seems.
Sunday Times article from yesterday
And the ST story is all very well, but this puts the Murdoch empire in what Spike Milligan once called A Very Difficult Position. The Sun was first out of the blocks in splashing the story and denouncing Mitchell, to the extent that the Sutton Coldfield MP has since launched a legal action against it (the competition within the press meant that the Daily Mail was not far behind).
Sunday Times editorial from yesterday
But what is far worse is that the ST’s daily stablemate The Times – or, as it likes to tell in self-promotional retro style, the “Times Of London” – was, as recently as February this year, recycling stories fed to it by the Police, which the paper said its readers should believe as their source said “Mitchell had indeed called the brave officers charged with protecting our leaders from terrorist plebs”.
The Times ran that under the headline “The truth about Plebgate”. Now the ST says it certainly wasn’t the truth, and that Mitchell was made the fall guy in an increasingly bitter spat between the DPG and Government. And the Sun’s non-bullying Political Editor Tom Newton Dunn, who started the ball rolling, may be in the biggest trouble of all. What appeared under his by-line bears repetition.
“COPS have called on a foul-mouthed Tory Chief Whip to resign after confirming that the millionaire minister launched an f-word rant at armed police ... Andrew Mitchell – newly-promoted by PM David Cameron – raged: ‘You’re f***ing plebs’”. Now another Murdoch paper is effectively saying that Newton Dunn, the paper he works for, and of course the Times, have been peddling a pack of lies.
Maybe the Murdoch empire would care to decide which way it wants to face on this.