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Mitchell plebgate probe widened.

Summary: Scotland Yard has widened its investigation into the Andrew Mitchell "plebgate" affair.

Scotland Yard has widened its investigation into the Andrew Mitchell "plebgate" affair amid signs of strain between senior Conservatives and the police over the treatment of the former chief whip.

Around 30 officers are working on the Metropolitan Police inquiry amid claims that officers conspired to fabricate evidence against Mr Mitchell that ultimately led to his resignation.

There are mounting questions over the initial account of his row with Downing Street police who refused to let him ride his bicycle through the main gates of Downing Street.

An officer is said to have written an email to his local MP, Conservative John Randall, posing as a member of the public and accusing Mr Mitchell of calling police "plebs".

The Metropolitan Police Service said on Wednesday it was conducting an investigation that could look at the possibility of a conspiracy.

In a statement, it said: "The allegation that a serving police officer fabricated evidence is extremely serious. It goes to the very heart of the public's trust in the police service."

An officer was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

Further questions about the account of Mr Mitchell's row with police emerged in relation to CCTV footage of the incident, which was broadcast for the first time by Channel 4 News and appeared to contradict parts of a leaked police log about the spat.

Although there is no sound, the MP can be seen with his bicycle talking to three officers by the main gate for around 20 seconds. He then wheels it over to the side gate and exits.

The footage appears to show there were few members of the public passing by at the time, apparently contradicting police records.

Mr Mitchell has demanded a full investigation into the police account of events and insisted the email was key to the loss of his job.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2012. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Dec 20, 2012
Words:346
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