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David Cameron criticises Andrew Mitchell's police tirade

The prime minister gives his view of the Conservative chief whip's altercation with police officers on Downing Street Link to this video
David Cameron has said that an angry tirade by the Conservative chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, against a police officer who would not let him leave Downing Street via the main gate was "wrong".
Mitchell, who was appointed to the key enforcer role in this month's cabinet reshuffle, apologised personally on Friday by telephone to the officer involved. He admitted he had failed to "treat the police with the respect they deserve" while chastising the officers for making him use a side exit.
But he denied quotes attributed to him by the Sun, which claimed he had called the police officers "fucking plebs" who needed to "learn [their] fucking place".
Cameron said on Friday: "What Andrew Mitchell said and what he did was not appropriate. It was wrong and it is right that he has apologised."
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said: "[Mitchell] spoke with the officer in question this morning over the telephone and made an apology, and that apology was accepted."
The comments have attracted criticism from Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank and file officers. He said of the alleged remarks that it was "hard to fathom how someone who holds the police in such contempt could be allowed to hold a public office".
McKeever said: "Mr Mitchell's half-hearted apology for the comments made whilst leaving Downing Street will do little to build bridges with the police, who feel they have once again been treated with a lack of respect and civility by members of this government.
"The lack of regard that some within government appear to hold police officers in is especially disappointing during this tragic week for the service and does nothing for the rock-bottom morale of officers in this country."
The Sun said it stood by its story.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, branded the reports "appalling" and questioned Mitchell's capability to do his new job.
She said: "No one should treat police officers or public servants in this way. And the idea that a cabinet minister could behave like this towards police officers doing their job is an utter disgrace. It tells you all you need to know about this out-of-touch government and its attitude to public servants.
"Downing Street clearly have a lot of questions to answer. They must make clear exactly what happened, including what was said and whether the deeply offensive language reported was used. How can a chief whip hope to do his job or instil respect when he behaves like this and can't even keep his cool?"
The shadow defence secretary, Jim Murphy, said on Twitter: "Some of these Tories are foul-mouthed spoilt little brats and now one caught by the Sun."
In a statement issued on Thursday night, Mitchell said he would apologise to the officer involved. "On Wednesday night I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before. I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way.
"While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve. I have seen the supervising sergeant and apologised, and will also apologise to the police officer involved."
The prime minister, who is sensitive about his government's blue-blooded, Old Etonian image, earlier welcomed Mitchell's apology. Cameron, speaking during a visit to Corby, Northamptonshire, refused to answer questions from reporters about Mitchell, but added: "I'm going to deal with this later."
The tirade came a day after two police officers, Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, were killed in Greater Manchester.
It was reported that Mitchell, 56, a former army officer who is MP for Sutton Coldfield, told officers on duty at Downing Street: "Best you learn your fucking place. You don't run this fucking government. You're fucking plebs."
Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit denounced Mitchell's comments in his Telegraph blog as "extraordinarily stupid" and urged Cameron to have a "heart-to-heart talk" with his new chief whip.
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Ditulis oleh: taufik hidayat - Friday, September 21, 2012

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