POLITICS
28/09/2012 09:42 BST | Updated 28/09/2012 09:47 BST

Andrew Mitchell Says 'Pleb' Row 'Blown Out Of All Proportion' By Media

Chief whip Andrew Mitchell has risked inflaming the bitter row over his altercation with Downing Street police officers by again insisting that he did not call them plebs.

In an interview with his local newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer, Mitchell claimed he wants to "draw a line" under a matter which was "blown out of all proportion" by the media.

Mitchell says he does not accept the police account of what happened last week when officers refused to allow him to cycle through the main Downing Street gates.

According to the report in the official police log, published in full in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, he swore repeatedly at the officers, calling them "f****** plebs".

Mitchell claimed he wanted to "draw a line" under the saga

But Mitchell said in the interview: "I think most people who know me know I would not use words like 'pleb' or 'moron' in describing anyone. I would gently point out that I did not say the words that have been ascribed to me.

"I hope my constituents and friends in Sutton Coldfield will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press."

Mitchell acknowledged that he "did not treat the police with the respect they deserve" and said he "apologised profusely" to the officer involved.

Despite the differing versions of events, No 10 has rejected calls for an inquiry by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood to establish who is telling the truth, saying that the police have decided not to pursue the matter.

Chairman of Warwickshire Police Federation Simon Payne outside the constituency offices of MP Andrew Mitchell, for the launch of a poster campaign against police cuts, in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

David Cameron, dogged by questions about the issue during his attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, said Mr Mitchell's behaviour is "deeply regrettable" but that his apology should be the end of it.

"On the basis he has given an apology and the police have decided not to pursue that any further, that is where matters should rest," he said.

Speaking in a round of TV interviews during his visit to Brazil, the Prime Minister said: "Of course it's been damaging, that's why it is right that he apologised and apologised profusely. This must never happen again.

"But on the basis that he has apologised and the basis that the police have said they are not taking this further, I think we should let matters rest there."