No 10 knew of plebgate 'conspiracy'
Downing Street's investigation into the altercation between Andrew Mitchell and police officers did not cover whether the word 'pleb' was said, Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has admitted.
As he came under heavy fire from MPs at the Public Adminitration Select Committee, Sir Jeremy said that looking at the particular word was not part of his remit.
He told the MPs that his investigation for the Prime Minister into the outburst against police officers had found “inconsistencies” in the account of an email sent to Tory MP John Randall.
It has since been alleged that the email, purporting to be from a constituent who witnessed the incident, was in fact sent by a serving police officer.
“We accepted that there were unanswered questions, including the possibility of a gigantic conspiracy or a small conspiracy. There were unanswered questions, but we decided on balance to let matters rest as they were; decided to stick by Andrew Mitchell, keep him in post and move on,” Sir Jeremy told the committee.
However, Sir Jeremy said the CCTV footage of the altercation had provide “inconclusive”, and that his remit had not included looking into the reliability of the police log of the incident itself.
Downing Street today defended the scope of the inquiry.
"The Prime Minister thinks that the review that was undertaken, including the scope of that review, was exactly the right one," the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said
He was subjected to hostile questioning from the committee, whose chair Bernard Jenkin criticised the narrowness of the investigation.
“Don’t you think that’s a fundamental problem with this investigation? That you weren’t asked to get to the bottom of it, you didn’t think it was your obligation to get to the bottom of it, and because of your failure to get to the bottom of it, the Government lost its Chief Whip.”
Catch up on this morning's session with our liveblog here