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Last updated: October 12, 2012 11:17 pm
The pressure mounted on Andrew Mitchell to fall on his sword on Friday as the West Midlands Police Federation said he had “no option but to resign” after a meeting with the chief whip.
Mr Mitchell has failed to shrug off the backlash against him after the moment three weeks ago that he lost his temper with Downing Street police officers – allegedly calling them “plebs”.
The Sutton Coldfield MP held a meeting on Friday with three representatives of regional police federations at his constituency office to discuss the fracas.
Mr Mitchell apologised again – insisting he did not want a “fire fight with the police” – but once again denied using the exact words attributed to him.
That meant the chief whip’s position had become “untenable”, said the West Midlands federation.
David Cameron, the prime minister, believes a line should be drawn under the matter, after previous apologies by Mr Mitchell who took up the job only last month.
But his position was eroded further on Friday after Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, called for him to be removed and The Daily Telegraph, a right-leaning newspaper, called for his sacking because he had become a “laughing stock”.
The incident has been toxic for the Tories because it highlights certain public impressions of them as overprivileged and out-of-touch.
Rumours of Mr Mitchell’s imminent resignation were swirling throughout this week’s Tory conference in Birmingham, which Mr Mitchell did not attend.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, told BBC Radio 5 live what Mr Mitchell had done was “really wrong” but he had apologised and hoped the minister’s meeting with the Police Federation would “clear the air”.
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