Under-fire government chief whip Andrew Mitchell has used an interview with his local paper to attack the national media over its coverage of the ‘pleb-gate’ affair.
The Sutton Coldfield Tory MP faced calls for his resignation after an altercation with police officers in Downing Street.
The Sun reported that he had sworn at the officers and called them ‘plebs’ after they told him he could not ride his bike through the entrance gates.
Mr Mitchell has repeatedly denied using the words attributed to him, although police log records appear to stand up The Sun’s story.
Now the politician has hit back in an exclusive interview with Sutton Coldfield Observer reporter Elise Chamberlain – his first since the incident took place.
He told the weekly that his row with police officers was “blown out of all proportion by the national media.”
Said the MP: “I hope my constituents will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press. I think most people who know me know I would not use words like pleb or moron in describing anyone.”
He added: “I think that we must always support the police, they do an incredibly difficult job very well across our country.”
He said The Sun’s “obsessive” campaign to force him from office was symptomatic of “a shamed national media desperate to reassert themselves as a power over government in the wake of Leveson.”