Andrew Mitchell, one of the Coalition's major players in the early years, now faces a career on the fringes. (Photo: Getty)
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Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell agrees to pay £80,000 in damages to PC Toby Rowland

Andrew Mitchell's two-year legal battle has ended in the Sutton Coldfield MP paying £80,000 in damages.

Andrew Mitchell, the former Chief Whip and International Development Secretary, has paid £80,000 in libel damages to PC Toby Rowland, the police officer at the centre of the "Plebgate" affair. 

At the end of a libel trial last year, brought by  Mitchell against the Sun, a judge ruled that Mitchell had used the "politically toxic word pleb" in his altercation with Rowland and other officers at th gates of Downing Street.  Rowland’s solicitor, Jeremy Clarke-Williams, told Mr Justice Warby: “The payment of £80,000 damages by Mr Mitchell sets the seal on PC Rowland’s vindication, as well as providing compensation for the injury to his reputation and the distress caused to him and his family over many months.”

He added: “PC Rowland never felt that the events in Downing Street were anything more than a minor incident. He was not responsible for the publicity which followed and would have much preferred that the whole matter had never entered the public domain. He now simply wishes to be left in peace to continue his police career.”

It is estimated that Mitchell's legal bills will reach about £3m.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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