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Andrew Mitchell Faces £1,000 Fine For Sweary 'Pleb' Rant At Police

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MITCHELL
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Andrew Mitchell faces a £1,000 fine for swearing at police officers as Labour seek to exploit the chief whip's expletive filled rant at the gates of Downing Street.

In the Commons on Monday afternoon, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper pressed Theresa May to condemn the chief whip for calling officers "f*****g plebs", an offence she said "people across the country are arrested for".

The Labour Party hopes to force a vote on a Commons motion that, if passed, would see the millionaire Mitchell fined the amount he could have been had he been prosecuted over the incident.

Under Section 5 of the Public Order Act anyone convicted of a public order offence can be fined between 50% and 125% of their weekly income by magistrates.

As Mitchell earns around £79,000 per annum from his government role, Labour is demanding that he gives up £1,000 - a sum the wealthy former banker could probably easily afford.

Cooper told May: "People think this goes to then eart of the government's attitude to the police and to and public servants.

"If she really wants to put an end to this and show respect for the police, why she doesn't change the chief whip and change her policies on policing too."

Cooper also quoted May's own recent speech to the Police Federation back at her: "You put up with abuse and worse and you do so to keep us free.

"You do an amazing job and it is time to give them the respect they deserve."

However May refused to condemn Mitchell and simply told Cooper that her colleague, who had braved the inevitable mockery in the Commons by showing up and sitting on the front bench, had already apologised.

Mitchell was subject to several jibes from the Labour benches over his behaviour, including from Catherine McKinnell who asked: "What is the impact on police moral of a cabinet member verbally abusing a police officer at a time of cuts to front line police officers?"

The presence on the Tory front bench of a minister who called police officers "plebs" could prove toxic to a government trying to shake off its image as out of touch "posh boys and while Cooper has called on David Cameron to fire his chief whip, he may be of more use to Labour if he stays where he is.