Andrew Mitchell resigns as Chief Whip

The fallout from "Plebgate" claims Mitchell, four weeks on, as he admits telling Downing Street police "I thought you guys were supposed to f***ing help us".

The news has just broken that Andrew Mitchell has resigned as Chief Whip.

Number 10 announced on Twitter that David Cameron had accepted the resignation.

Below is Mitchell's resignation letter in which he admits that he swore at the police, but denies calling them "plebs".

In his response to Mitchell, David Cameron said:

Thank you for your letter. I was sorry to receive it, but I understand why you have reached the conclusion you have, and why you have decided to resign from the Government.

I regret that this has become necessary, and am very grateful for all you have done, both in Government and in Opposition – as well as for the kind words in your letter.

As we discussed in advance of the reshuffle, I wanted you to bring your organisational skill and energy to the important job of chief whip. It was clear to me that you had already made a strong start.

As you have acknowledged, the incident in Downing Street was no acceptable and you were right to apologise for it.

You have much to be proud of from your service on the frontbench both in opposition and in government, and in your continued service to your constituents in Sutton Coldfield. I hope that, in time, you will be able to make a further contribution to public life.

Andrew Mitchell. Photo: Getty
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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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