The PCC inquiry into #Smeargate and Mitchell must report as soon as possible
By Paul Goodman
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Yesterday evening's investigation by Michael Crick into the Andrew Mitchell affair revealed that an e-mail apparently corroborating the police logbook account of what took place didn't come from an ordinary eyewitness - as David Cameron believed when he read it. It appears to have been sent from the home computer of a member of the Diplomatic Protection Group. That person told Mr Crick that he didn't witness the incident and didn't send the e-mail either. The Times (£) reported yesterday that "a member of the Diplomatic Protection Group, the unit which guards Downing Street, had been arrested on suspicion of gross misconduct".
Mr Mitchell has called for a full inquiry into the incident. There is already a Police Complaints Commission inquiry into it, since a referral has been received from the Met. But which bodies conduct investigations is perhaps less important than how swiftly they report. The former Chief Whip's Cabinet career was destroyed by the allegations against him within a few weeks. It is thus only fair that inquiries into the matter don't drag on for many months. So the PCC should get a move on. The affair became known as Plebgate. After Mr Crick's revelations yesterday, wouldn't Smeargate be no less fair a description?