The Sun condemns Met for seeking to shoot messenger over Andrew Mitchell incident
Telegraph publishes full police log confirming Sun version of events
Sun reveals Mitchell enjoyed lunch at top curry restaurant on day of outburst
The Sun today accused the Met Police of targeting it for engaging in “what is known as journalism”.
Yesterday it emerged that the Met was investigating the paper over a front page exclusive that last week claimed Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell had called a police officer a “fucking pleb” when he was asked to get off his bike at the gates of Downing Street.
Today The Sun, which has had around 20 of its journalists arrested in recent months by detectives investigating bribery allegations and computer hacking, rounded on the Met in an editorial.
The editorial questions why the Met refused to investigate Mitchell "despite regularly hauling ‘ordinary people’ into court for abusing cops”.
“To them it’s more important to devote resources to uncovering how The Sun broke this story and attempting to expose the source who showed us evidence confirming what took place.
“As we have said, we neither paid nor offered any money for this exclusive. It is the result of what is known as journalism.
“The public interest could not be more clear-cut. Britain has a right to know if a high-ranking Government member brands police officers ‘morons’ and ‘plebs’.
“All that is lost on the Met. Their priority is to find, and shoot, the messenger. “The odious ex-Cabinet Minister David Mellor helps their cause, baselessly and falsely accusing the source of taking a bribe, on national television.
“Yet even the Labour MP Tom Watson, no fan of The Sun, says our story is in the public interest and constitutes legitimate whistle-blowing. The Met’s official response is bizarre at best.”
Yesterday, Mitchell denied the story, telling journalists: “I want to make it absolutely clear that I did not use the words attributed to me.”
But today The Daily Telegraph published the police log of the incident in full, which appears to confirm The Sun's version of the story.
It reveals that the altercation occurred when Mitchell demanded that officers open the main Downing Street gates for him to cycle through. Officers insisted that he instead use the pedestrian exit.
The officer’s log states:
There were several members of public present as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate and as we neared it, Mr MITCHELL said: "Best you learn your f------ place...you don’t run this f------ government...You’re f------ plebs." The members of public looked visibly shocked and I was somewhat taken aback by the language used and the view expressed by a senior government official. I can not say if this statement was aimed at me individually, or the officers present or the police service as a whole.”
Meanwhile, The Sun today questioned Mitchell’s claim that the outburst came after a “long and frustrating day” by revealing that he lunched that day at upmarket curry restaurant The Cinnamon Club.
It quoted ex-Government adviser George Mitchell who was sitting near him: “He didn’t seem to be having a long and frustrating day to me.”