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Boris kicks Andrew Mitchell while he's down

Police were right to threaten the Chief Whip with arrest for swearing, says the Mayor of London.

Boris Johnson said it was "wholly commonsensical" for police to threaten Andrew Mitchell with arrest. Photograph: Getty Images.

Boris Johnson now rarely misses a chance to cause mischief at the expense of David Cameron's government and the Andrew Mitchell saga is no exception. Interviewed earlier today, he said:

If I read the papers correctly there was a proposal to arrest Mr Mitchell for what he said. That seems to be wholly commonsensical. The Public Order Act does allow for police officers' discretion in this matter. They have obviously decided not to go ahead with it. But it shows the gravity of this offence.

With these words, however, he was merely upholding the stance he outlined at last year's Conservative conference, when, to cheers from delegates, he declared that "If people swear at the police, they must expect to be arrested. Not just because it's wrong to expect officers to endure profanities, but it's also because of the experience of the culprits. If people feel there are no comebacks, no boundaries and no retribution for the small stuff, then I'm afraid they will go on to commit worse crimes."