Following the news of the arrest of a police officer on suspicion of leaking details of “plebgate” to the press, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, has given a series of intriguing interviews. Speaking on LBC earlier today, he said that the arrest was only partly due to allegations that the officer was a whistleblower and that people would be “surprised” when they heard the full story.
I hope when people hear the full story they will understand why I’ve had some dilemma in talking about it today. We were quite surprised at what happened and I suspect they will be too.
He later added on BBC London:
It’s an ongoing criminal investigation, and also it’s now supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). I hope people understand that. And I also hope people understand that there is more to this than meets the eye. I’m afraid I’m constrained in explaining that. I hope that when people hear the full story they will support what we’ve done.
Significantly, Hogan-Howe also said that he stood by the original account of the officers who were on duty at the time.
“The only thing I will say is that I don’t think from what I’ve heard up to now that it’s really affected the original account of the officers at the scene because this officer we’ve arrested isn’t one of those involved originally. This is another officer who wasn’t there at the time.”
This puts him at odds with Andrew Mitchell, who insisted again on Monday that the contents of the police log were “false”. Much to the Tories’ displeasure, it looks as if this story will run for a while yet.