Andrew Mitchell did say "pleb", the judge rules. Photo: Getty
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Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell loses his libel trial, which rules he did say the words alleged

The judge has ruled that former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell did say the word "pleb", or something close to it, in his libel trial against the Sun's owners over the Plebgate scandal.

The former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has lost his libel trial against News Group Newspapers, the Sun's publisher, over the MP's alleged words at the Downing Street gates in 2012, an event now known as Plebgate.

The judge ruled that he "did speak the words alleged".

Mitchell was suing the publisher over its newspaper's claims that he called a policeman guarding No 10, PC Toby Rowland, a "pleb". He denied using the terms attributed to him by PC Rowland, who is now suing Mitchell over his claims that the officer made up the quotes.

The judge described the Tory MP's account of the events that evening as "inconsistent" with CCTV evidence and said PC Rowland was "not the sort of man" to have the "wit, imagination or inclination" to invent such a tale of what the then senior government politician said to him.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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