Nov 5 2013
Two police officers have told MPs they "regret" the distress caused to former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell since the so-called Plebgate row erupted.
Police Federation representatives Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton and Sergeant Chris Jones were questioned by the Home Affairs Select Committee over "misleading" evidence given during their appearance before MPs last month.
Along with Inspector Ken MacKaill, the two officers were previously accused of attempting to discredit Mr Mitchell after meeting him in October last year.
While the men apologised for distress caused in the wake of the original incident in September last year, in which Mr Mitchell was accused of launching a foul-mouthed rant at officers outside Downing Street, the officers both said they would not apologise over claims that they gave misleading accounts of their October meeting.
Reading from a prepared statement, both men told the committee: "While the committee appears to believe, however, that we are indifferent to Mr Mitchell's predicament, and the distress caused to him and his family since the original incident in Downing Street, we are not.
"Each of us fully recognises and regrets the fact that such distress has been caused.
"We share the belief that the investigation into the original incident in Downing Street has already taken a disproportionate period of time and should be resolved in the interests of all parties without delay."
In the prepared statement, Mr Hinton and Mr Jones added: "Our position so far as our meeting with Mr Mitchell is concerned has not changed."
Following Mr Hinton's evidence, Committee chair Keith Vaz MP said: "That is a different position to the position given to the Committee on the last occasion.
"When you talked about an apology to Mr Mitchell you said it was a general apology to all those who had been affected.
"You are telling the Committee now that you specifically wish to apologise to Mr Mitchell and his family for the distress caused."
To which, Mr Hinton replied: "For the distress caused. I can't apologise for something that I haven't done and there are other accusations that I totally refute."