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Chamber POTY: Andrew Mitchell, by Paul Dale

Chamber POTY: Andrew Mitchell, by Paul Dale

🕔19.Dec 2012

Whatever happened at the Downing Street gates, and we shall probably never know the whole truth, the fact remains that Andrew Mitchell was a first class International Development Secretary before becoming Chief Whip.

In fact, if Gate-Gate had never happened, Mr Mitchell would by now be viewed as one of the Government’s more successful operators and a likely candidate for one of the great offices of state. (BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: Mitchell wants old aid job back)

Having cleverly rebuilt his career after backing the wrong candidate for Conservative Party leader – he organised David Davis’s campaign – the Sutton Coldfield MP moved effortlessly to become one of David Cameron’s most enthusiastic cheerleaders.

The Chamber POTYs are the first Person of the Year Awards run by The Chamberlain Files. To see who else has been nominated, click here

And if never quite in the Prime Minister’s inner circle, Mr Mitchell’s obvious enthusiasm for tackling poverty in the third world served to underline Mr Cameron’s new touchy-feely Tory party.

Andrew Mitchell didn’t just talk about giving assistance to the poorest communities, he went personally to places like Rwanda and Sierra Leone and led from the front by overseeing hands-on aid projects.

I’m finding it difficult to remember any former Conservative minister who so openly embraced the principle of Britain’s role in providing international aid. Mitchell’s belief in what he was doing extended to taking on some unpleasant right-wing criticism at Tory conference fringe meetings, and to persuading Mr Cameron that UK financial aid for the third world should not be cut.

It would be a tragedy of Greek proportions if Andrew Mitchell’s political career was cut short by what he admits was a loss of temper at the end of a long day. We’ve all been there, but most of us do not have to watch helplessly as the results of our shortcomings are played out by the world’s media.

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