Politics 19 October 2012 Mitchell's departure leaves Cameron looking weak Rather than sacking his Chief Whip, the Prime Minister prevaricated. Sign up for our weekly email * Print HTML The decision of Andrew Mitchell to resign was undoubtedly the right one. Having lost the respect of many of his Tory colleagues, he entirely lacked the authority necessary to perform his duties as Chief Whip. As David Davis astutely observed two weeks ago, "What does a Chief Whip have at his fingertips to deploy normally? Well, a mixture of charm, rewards, appeals to loyalty — all of those are diluted at the moment." It would also have suited Labour for him to remain in place (despite the party's public calls for his resignation, it privately hoped he would survive), another consideration which will have influenced Mitchell's decision. But his departure (announced on Friday evening in classic Westminster style) leaves David Cameron notably weakened. The Prime Minister could have demonstrated strength by sacking Mitchell and asserting that "there is no place in a compassionate, one nation party for for those who behave disrespectfully to the police." Instead, he prevaricated, neither sacking Mitchell nor backing him. As I noted after PMQs on Wednesday, Cameron "couldn't summon a word in defence of his Chief Whip". Having shown similarly poor judgement in the cases of Lord Ashcroft and Andy Coulson, it is remarkable that the PM failed to learn from past experience to kill the story at birth. › Andrew Mitchell resigns as Chief Whip David Cameron accepted Andrew Mitchell's resignation as Chief Whip today. Photograph: Getty Images. George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman. Subscribe from just £1 per issue More Related articles Douglas Carswell leaves Ukip to become independent MP Labour is a pioneer in fighting sexism. That doesn't mean there's no sexism in Labour Why isn't Labour putting forward Corbynite candidates?