Andrew Mitchell faces increasing hostility from five directions
By Peter Hoskin
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A quick foray into this morning’s papers makes one thing clear: Andrew Mitchell is under as much pressure as ever over his rant at a policeman on Downing Street. In fact, he now faces questions — or outright opposition — from at least five directions:
i) The media. The Daily Telegraph today joins the Sun in calling for Mr Mitchell to resign.
ii) The Cabinet. Ministers openly discussed Mr Mitchell’s future during the party conference. Indeed, IDS joked about the prospect of him being sent to Rwanda, as Fraser Nelson recounts this morning.
iii) The backbenches. What goes for Cabinet ministers goes doubly so for Tory backbenchers. Many in Birmingham were questioning Mr Mitchell’s ability to perform his new job.
iv) The Police Federation. They are demanding a full account of what Mr Mitchell actually said to the police officer — otherwise, they’ll probably demand his head.
v) The public. The majority of who want Mr Mitchell to resign.
Crucially, David Cameron cannot yet be added to the list above. The Times reports (£) that the PM is minded to give his Chief Whip time, to “see if the furore will die down and whether Mr Mitchell can command the respect of MPs.”
But, as that’s a pretty Big If, perhaps it’s worth noting the names that are swirling around the Westminster washbowl as possible replacements for Mr Mitchell: Francis Maude, Michael Fallon, Mark Harper and John Hayes.
For now, however, instead of one of those four, it's the five-pronged fork.