As the Metropolitan Police continues to struggle to explain the lie a serving officer allegedly told about witnessing pleb-gate, sources close to Andrew Mitchell say that he now wants his old job back.
Not the position of Chief Whip – that was his new job in which he served just over a month before the national newspaper bandwagon led by The Sun and Daily Telegraph created so much pressure that he felt he should resign.
No, Mitchell is said to want his previous position back, International Development Secretary, an area where most observers agree that he spent seven largely successful years (five of them as shadow, two in government).
The close source told me: “Andrew loved the job he did in international development, and constantly refers to it as his happiest time in politics.
“He reluctantly accepted the Chief Whip position and we all know what happened shortly afterwards with, at best, highly exaggerated and mischievous stories about how he acted and what he said at the gates of Downing Street.
“Now that new evidence has come out that throws severe doubt on those stories, Andrew feels strongly that he deserves his chance back in government. And, in the fullness of time, he would love the opportunity of continuing the progress he made as International Development Secretary.”
Personally, I agree that Mitchell should be back in government. As I said on these pages on 26 September, his record as a hard-working MP and as a government minister willing to take on unpopular roles is impressive, and he never deserved to lose his job.
Once the new police inquiry into its fibbing officer and alleged conspiracy is concluded, I predict that the call will come from Number 10 and that Mitchell will return to the front benches.
If anyone wonders when, I would wager that a mini-reshuffle orchestrating his return will happen by April 2013.
- Steve Dyson is a media pundit who used to edit the Birmingham Mail. He also lives in Sutton Coldfield, but is not a Tory voter. www.dysonmedia.co.uk