By Alex Stevenson
Conservative calls for Andrew Mitchell to be returned to government are gathering momentum, after it was suggested last night police officers could have fabricated evidence against him.
The Metropolitan police has begun an investigation following the emergence of CCTV footage which places the police's account of events on the evening of September 19th into doubt.
The footage, shown on Channel 4 News, revealed CCTV footage of the entrance to Downing Street showing Mitchell leaving with his bicycle. He later resigned after an intense media backlash against his rant at police officers, which he allegedly described as "f***ing plebs".
The footage, which showed Mitchell quickly leaving Downing Street by the side gate, appeared to clash with the police's account of events – which suggested he had engaged in a lengthy foul-mouthed rant against the officers on duty.
The leaked police log claimed several members of the public were present, "as is the norm opposite the pedestrian gate". It stated: "As we neared it, Mr MITCHELL said: 'Best you learn your f------ place...you don't run this f------ government...You're f------ plebs."
CCTV footage clearly showed there was only one man taking an interest in the incident outside the Downing Street gates.
Now it has emerged a man a sent an email from home in Ruislip to John Randall, his MP, the deputy chief whip to Mitchell, saying he was present with his nephew. That backed the police log, which claimed "several members of the public looked visibly shocked" by Mitchell's alleged remarks.
Earlier this week David Cameron was told the man who sent the email was a serving police officer, Channel 4 claimed.
Mitchell, speaking to Channel 4, said: "It has certainly shaken my life-long support and confidence in the police and I believe now there should be a full inquiry so that we can get to the bottom of this."
This morning the Met confirmed it would mount a probe immediately.
"The allegation that a serving police officer fabricated evidence is extremely serious," it said in a statement.
"The Met is now conducting a thorough and well-resourced investigation to get to the truth as soon as possible."
David Davis called on Met commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to establish the motivation of the police officers involved.
"This is a shocking revelation that a senior police officer seems to have masqueraded as a civilian, and acted in a way which effectively completely undermined Andrew Mitchell in the eyes of the prime minister and Downing Street right at the point they were making the decision of whether we support him or not," he told the Today programme.
Former Conservative party leader Michael Howard told the same programme he was "appalled" by the allegations and called for Mitchell to be restored to government "at the earliest opportunity".
A Downing Street spokesperson said: "Any allegations that a serving police officer posed as a member of the public and fabricated evidence against a cabinet minister are exceptionally serious.
"It is therefore essential that the police get to the bottom of this as a matter of urgency."
By Alex Stevenson