Press release

Number 10 Press Briefing - Morning 19 December 2012

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister's Spokesperson (PMS) answered questions on Andrew Mitchell, UBS and the EU.

Andrew Mitchell

Questioned on the Cabinet Secretary’s review of the Andrew Mitchell incident, the Prime Minister’s Spokesperson (PMS) said that the Prime Minister (PM) was clear that reasonable inquiries had been made. The Cabinet Secretary had reviewed the emails submitted to Downing Street, Andrew Mitchell’s own account and the CCTV footage taken in Downing Street. All evidence was reviewed swiftly after receipt of emails in September 2012. The Cabinet Secretary had concluded that one could not be confident in the reliability of the email evidence, and ultimately the email did not have a bearing on Andrew Mitchell’s resignation. With regards to the disparity between Andrew Mitchell’s account and the police log, the PMS did not comment on the log, but noted that there remained a genuine difference of view. A police investigation was now underway. The PM believed it was an extremely serious matter.

Asked whether the PM still had confidence in the Downing Street police, and the police investigation underway, the PMS confirmed that he had. The PM very much had confidence in the police. The police investigation was being overseen by the IPCC and the appropriate action was being taken. The priority for the police was to get to the bottom of what happened.

Asked whether the PM still believed Andrew Mitchell should have resigned, the PMS referred to the exchange of letters between Mr Mitchell and the PM on 19 October 2012. The PM believed the incident in Downing Street had been unacceptable. The PM’s response to the resignation letter included a hope that Mr Mitchell would be able to make a further contribution to public life.

Obama call

Responding to questions on the PM’s call with President Obama, specifically regarding the EU, the PMS said that the call briefly touched on the EU. The President was supportive of the PM’s approach.

UBS fine

Asked how the UBS fine would be spent, the PMS said that rules regarding fine receipts had changed so that the money went to the Consolidated Fund. Decisions on how that would be spent were for the future.