19/10/2012 Newsnight


The chief whip finally resigns over plebgate after a month's delay. And the police launch a full criminal investigation of the Jimmy Savile scandal. With Emily Maitlis.

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resign, but insists he never used resign, but insists he never used


the words "pleb pleb" or" more ran". Why did the row drag itself out for


another month until he finally quit. They weren't the exact words he


used, but accusations that chimed with the worst stereotypes of the


modern Tory toff. There are those who praise and bury Andrew Mitchell


with us. The Savile affair, a criminal


investigation, with accusations against living people. The police


claim there are 200 potential victim, and potential prosecutions


to come of the He's possibly going to be be one of the prolific


exoffenders that the NSPCC has come across, he spans five decades.


man who was Children's Minister "dear David" read the letter. It is


with enormous regret that he was write to go resign as Chief Whip,


were the words of Andrew Mitchell, after resigning, some would he say,


eventually, he said he never used the word "pleb" or more ran", in


the altercation outside Downing Street. Why did the resignation


come now, of the toxic "pleb" word, ever used now. How damaging has the


episode been to David Cameron. Our political editor is can us now.


This has already proved quite devisive? Behind the scenes there


are many people who think he was handed out by a campaign wrought by


the police. It wasn't as simple as what he said or didn't say, that he


was framed. But they were intent on getting his scalp. By David Cameron


letting him go, that David Cameron is weakened in that battle which


will go on and on. Equally there are loads who think it went on far


too long. This is a man who goes around Westminster, saying he would


like to be known as a big swinging dick. He's an incredibly bomb


bastic individual. It rang too true for a lot of MPs who were facing


this man being their Chief Whip, he was going to be disciplining them,


they weren't that keen about it. When he was caught saying what he


said, it rang too true. For 28 days and nights, the


pressure rained down on Andrew Mitchell. This time a week ago, it


looked like he had weathered the storm, but a week really is an


eternity in political life. Last Friday night David Cameron had just


delivered a conference speech that sent his people awhich with a


spring in their step. Since then we have had a storm with the energy


bills, completely of the Prime Minister's own making. Now we have


the resignation of the man supposed to be the enforcer. Losing his grip,


he was left just clasping his hands, the first Prime Minister's


Questions of the autumn, was always going to be the test. Here Mitchell


was the butt of both jokes and jabs, perhaps nearing the bottom of


despair. It was said he had lost a stone in weight, and it looked like


he had. They say that I practice class war, and they go around


calling people "plebs", can you believe it? I know individuals at


the top of Government and inside Downing Street, who have been


frustrated at the amount of time it has taken for Andrew Mitchell to


resign. They believed his tenacious clinging on to power was harming


the Prime Minister. For his part over the last week and the return


to parliament, the Chief Whip was also assessing the damage to his


own career. Too many people have told him, at all levels of the


party, that he cannot hope to do a job that ask people to vote in a


particular way, they may not agree with, and do so for the good of the


party, when he has done so much to damage that party. In short, he was


told, he couldn't hold a role of authority when he had lost so much


of it. Today in his resignation letter to


the Prime Minister, Andrew Mitchell reiterated his finely-worded


defence, that he didn't call the police pleb, but he did swear at


them. The tone is this, that he was going, but not for what he did, but


because he couldn't recover from what he did.


Do you know who that guy is? particular problem for the


Government was brought out by this focus group, conducted by the BBC's


Sunday Politics, Mitchell's problem was made clear. Which of those


three is the most insulting? Number two. It is just the one word?


"place", earn your place. He has been marked by everyone, you know


your place, and he knows his, which won't be in our's. Despite this,


there is anger among Andrew Mitchell's former colleagues, that


he is lost by a politically motivated campaign by the police,


angered by cuts to the force. # He's either a little Blairite


# Or else a modern Conservative Speculation continues tonight that


Mitchell might choose to stand down from his constituency, a plum seat


being eyed up by many. But for now, he's left Government, taking with


him his unique mix of pomp and pomposity.


You mentioned the wider question of David Cameron's Government now,


does he look en feebleed by this? If you look at opinion polls, they


have struggled and still a linger problem for them. Every time they


have a good moment, like David Cameron's good speech last night,


they come back and go to an old narrative, which they try to


correct and don't seem to do so. -- succeed in doing so. As the Prime


Minister suggests that he didn't help himself with an energy policy,


it needed 48 hours before he could say something. Then tonight. In and


of themselves these are not killer blows, the problem is when the two


start to reinforce each other, you have the terrible word, the


omnishambles, I hate it, it is cliched. You have the continuing


problem of incompetence, mixed with the perception that these guys are


out-of-touch. It is our old friend, can you be heartless, you can


appear to have a lifestyle and a background and privilege that is


different from lots of people, but if you are not very good at what


you do, if you are hopeless, that is when it becomes a problem. We


have been talking about that on this programme for months, we are


still there. With me now in the studio is Labour's Mary Creagh, we


hop to be joined in Birmingham by the Conservative MP, Jacob Rees-


Mogg, and we are joined from Bristol by the former Chief


Constable of Gloucestershire, Tim Brain. You welcome the resignation,


Labour has welcomed the resignation tonight, do you think that it's


right that one mistake can end, what, 30 years of good public


service? Well, I think it's right that Andrew Mitchell has resigned,


and I think he should have resigned four weeks ago when this incident


occurred. I think the problem for the Prime Minister now is that he


now looks weak, and as was said, it is about the nature and competence


of this Government. These damaging rows are piling up one after the


other. The whole issue of entightment, of a Government that


is out-of-touch, of -- entitlement, of a Government out-of-touch, of


tax breaks for millionaire, one rule for those at the top and


another for those at the bottom. fits Labour's narrative, the out-


of-touch delete. You have heard Andrew Mitchell insist today he


didn't use the words he's accused of using. Are you happy to abide by


the other side of the story, the police's version? In his


resignation letter he says what he said, why did it take four weeks to


come out and say what he said. He says which swear word he uses, in


that resignation letter. The question is, which is more damaging


for the Conservatives, to use the "pleb" word or the F-word, it was


the fleb-word that did for him. Are you -- Pleb-word that did for


him. Are you totally happy accepting the police version of


events here? No, what we are seeing here a man who was an embarrassment,


who became a laughing stock, and who failed to tough it out at the


political party conference a couple of weeks ago. From that moment on


wards, it had nothing to do with what he said or didn't say or what


the police thought, it was all about Westminster politics. Has


left it about three weeks too late before he could say he went with


honour. Jacob Rees-Mogg, I think you have


joined us now, you heard Mary Creagh, perhaps. Basically this


confirms the narrative of the posh Tories, doesn't it, we have had, if


we needed further proof, George Osborne in the wrong first-class


carriage on the train tonight? is an exceptionally silly way of


looking at it. Train tickets are so confusing, anybody could get into


the wrong carriage. On what Mr Mitchell did or didn't say, he has


made it clear that he didn't use the most contentious words. In any


confrontation, people have different views of what was said.


It's perfectly reasonable to take Mr Mitchell's view of it. Do you


find it odd that he's being replaced with a man who said "the


homeless are people you step over when you come out of the opera",


from Sir Tony Young? I think you can dig up from every politician's


past a quotation that sounds unfortunate. Sir Tony Young is a


civilised figure, a very capable leader of the house, and admired --


leader of the House, and admired Transport Secretary that will do a


great job. Would people be wrong to assume that the Tories are out-of-


touch, and let's face it, a bit posh? I don't think the Tories are


out-of-touch, if you look at the figures on the deficit which came


out, they are better, what is really in touch is making sure that


the economy works and people's taxes can come down, and the


economy can begin to grow again. That is what Government is about.


Not about little arguments at the gates of Ten Downing Street. That


is trivialising it. Little arguments that can be blown into a


class warfare narrative if it suits your purpose? Jacob Rees-Mogg says


the man charged with the economy going back on track, can't tell the


difference between a first class chancellor carriage on the train.


That speaks volumes for the Chancellor and desperation of the


Conservative Party this evening. A Chancellor trying to blag his way


into first class, without paying the �160 upgrade. Again, one rule


for the people at the top, another rule for the rest of us. I don't


think this has been blown out of proportion, I think the Prime


Minister's handling of it has been terrible, he's looked weak, he is


weak, and piling up one shambles after another, does the Government,


and the country, no favours at all. Jacob Rees-Mogg, what are we to


make by the insistence by Andrew Mitchell that he didn't use any of


the words levelled at him? I think you can have two different versions


of an event, but I do think we need to ask questions, whilst the


Leveson Inquiry is still going on, as to how these files were leaked


from the police. The conversation, first of all, and then the actual


police officers' log. We have seen enough trouble from the police


leaking manufacture, and the scandals involving News


International, I hope that the Metropolitan Police will look very


carefully at what has happened, how it has happened, and will try to


ensure such leaks don't happen again. Dr Brain what do you make of


those leaks? I think they should be looked at. But I think, of course,


this is a desperate tactic on the part of the Conservative Party and


the Government, to try to deflect away from the fact that this has


been a big embarrassment for them. And it brings into light the


general feeling that police officers have about this Government,


that they don't really sympathise with policing, they are not


interested in their concerns and frankly, they have it in for them.


This all seems to just Summers up that. The attempt to distract won't


work. When you -- Just sum that up. The attempt to distract won't work.


Does this have a ring of vendetta to it, with the pay freeze and the


job cuts in the police? It is not just that there is a pay freeze or


jobs cut, that can be accepted. Some of the leadership of the


Conservative Party shows little short of contempt for policing.


That is summed up in this incident. It is very interesting, this is the


first time when Tom Watson rather seemed to love what the Sun was


publishing, when it was a leak of what the Chief Whip had said?


Andrew Mitchell is not the victim, he's the man in charge of order and


discipline across the parliamentary Conservative Party, and who


couldn't impose his own order and discipline on himself, when faced


with a police officer who wouldn't open the gates for him at Downing


Street. If someone had sworn at a police officer in any of our town


centre, our constituents would rightly be outraged, as we would be.


This is the man in charge of order and discipline, he didn't have the


self-control to behave properly to a police officer. This is hugely


exaggerated, somebody lost his temper, frankly, big deal, all


sorts of people lose their temper in their daily lives. It is part of


human nature. To blow this up into a resignation issue, has been very


unfortunate, and trivialises politics, when there are many


important things going on. In relation to the police,


particularly, who do have difficult negotiations on their pensions, for


which I feel great sympathy for them. I think they are very


difficult. You would never have sworn at a police officer in that


manner, would you Jacob Rees-Mogg? Miss Maitlis, I don't think I have


sworn in my adult life. Leaving aside the par gones of virtue, most


of us do -- paragones of virtue, most of us do let a swear word out.


This is the man in charge of order and discipline in the party, and


these police officers are guarding number 11 and Number Ten Downing


Street, one of the highest - security areas in the country.


Thank you very much. This resignation comes at the end


of a week where the Government has made all the wrong kind of


headlines, and boy we know how that feels. From confusion over energy


policy, dubbed the "combishambles", suggestions of a U-turn on the


badger cull, let's call that the omnivore shambles, and the


Chancellor going into the wrong carriage, that goes to be the The


Great Train Snobbery. We have the man who broke the Sun story and


Peter Oborn of the Telegraph, what should we make of the timing of


this. We had this story of how he had to wait for David Cameron to


get back from a summit, as if it had been a six-month trip, why did


it come now? It is like a bedroom farce of in a country house, et


cetera. There is a conspiracy theory this afternoon that people


were trying to bring on, the George Osborne fiasco on the train, with


Andrew Mitchell's sudden resignation, to link them. It is


not too much to say that George Osborne was going to be the front


splash under the headline The Great Train Snobbery, until the Mitchell


resignation came in. It is a conspiracy theory, the way it was


written, Mitchell said he wanted today see him today. It didn't work


like that. Unfortunate low, the day has created, the sort of utter mess


that makes the -- The Thick Of It look tame, reality it worse. This


is David Cameron's reshuffle and the new beginning, but is it really,


do things like this have a lasting effect? There is an issue of


competence in the Government. By the way, basically the 1922


Committee meeting, the meeting of the Conservative Party earlier this


week, that's what did for Mitchell, because it was basically made plain


there that he didn't have the confidence of the parliamentary


party. And a mutiny of the whips? You had a whips office revolt from.


That moment on, Andrew Mitchell was finished. Does that tell you that


they now have more power than David Cameron does, the right of the


party is actually telling him what to do now? No. Certainly, I think


the Prime Minister has a problem. He called it wrong after the Sun's


original story, he should have, he would have been right to have


sacked Mitchell at once. It is unacceptable that a cabinet


minister insults a policeman and swears using the F-word at the


policeman. You can't have that. The Prime Minister called it wrong, no


new information, new damning information emerged, that enabled


the Prime Minister to reconsider the issue. What happened of that


there was a revolt against his judgment. So he has been humiliated


in this, yeah. We have heard both politicians say you can have two


versions of events. When the story came to you, was it very clear.


Were the officers very clear of what language had been used?


Crystal clear, not only did we take one source's view on it, it is a


hugely serious allegation, usually defamery if you got it wrong. We


have three different sources which the time we went to print.


Including passers by, including people who weren't in the police?


If you don't mind I won't go into the precise sources. We were 100%


sure that was precisely what the police had told their bosses what


Mitchell had said to them. In the Leveson Inquiry do you feel odd


about getting leaks from the police? Not at all, we have had in


the last few week, from Conservative MPs, and and the


lovely Jacob Rees-Mogg, utterly the wrong person to come on Newsnight


tonight and saying the Tory Party feel their humble pain. The


messenger is always shot when people don't like what we are


saying. There are a fair share of Eatonians in the Sun, or in the


Tony Blair -- Etonians at the Sun or in jobs replacing each other, is


that a narrative that is continuing to damage David Cameron?


definitely think it was part of the reason why Mitchell had to go. As


Mary Creagh was impressive about, there is one law for these


Conservative Party ministers, and another for voters. It is important


to point out in the defence of the Conservatives that new Labour was


far worse than this. Again and again ministers were doing things


that were utterly unacceptable. Think of David Blunkett, all of


them, almost, Tony Blair himself, again and again they would do, and


be guilty of behaviour which would have sent an ordinary citizen to


jail. And they seemed to get away with it. It is worth rembering, or


certainly got them sacked or disgraced, and yet they just


carried on in office. Let's remember that this hypocrisy, this


difference between the way politicians behave, and what they


say, is not just a Conservative thing. But the plays particularly


dangerously to the Conservative thing, because the because of the


issues. Do you think they were particularly harsh on this, a lot


of countries would say it is not so much to ask that your politicians


should be asked to sit in a quiet first class carriage, without the


whole world erupting into class war? There is a difference between


the individual instance, such as Mitchell having a rant at a copper,


or Osborne walking into a first class carriage when he meant to sit


in standard. Why those apparently small things are massively damaging


for the Government, for our reader, or decent, normal working people,


is because of the stereotype they project. Exactly what Allegra has


been saying, people do feel you have a bunch of toffs in the


cabinet who went to Eton, and I didn't, despite the appalling


accusation you made there. People don't think they feel their pain


and what they are going through, any small incident that might


reveal the real image behind the politician trying to tell you the


nice things, is very damaging indeed, and right for us to pursue.


The investigation into Jimmy Savile has now become a criminal inquiry,


Scotland Yard has revealed they will be looking into allegationing


concerning living figures, as well as the deceased star. They


identified more than 200 possible victim, detectives have refused to


give a figure for the number of people under investigation, said to


be a handful. And said they are dealing with abuse on an


unprecedented scale. It started with one single


allegation. Now the Jimmy Savile investigation has reached, what


Scotland Yard is calling, a staggering scale. Officers are


pursuing 400 separate leads in this complex case. 200 victims have now


come forward, up from 60, just a few days ago. The investigation is


now officially a criminal one. And for the first time, police have


confirmed they are dealing with accusations of abuse involving


other living people connected to Savile, including, it's thought,


other celebrities. The whole Savile investigation does now seem to be


moving with some speed. One former senior police officer with


knowledge of the investigation, told Newsnight, he expects to see


suspects questioned and even arrested quickly, perhaps within


days. But Operation Yewtree, as it is known, is likely to take at


least six months in total. It is understood that officers working on


the case originally expected it to be wrapped up in 30 days, but it is


now much more complex. Looking into hundreds of possible crime,


committed decades ago. This former detective works on dozens of sex


abuse cases. The point is quite clear, for recent events,


recollection will be fresh in victims' minds, it might have been


reported straight away, there might be forensic evidence, CCTV evidence,


all those sorts of things, but we won't have that here, it is


historic, the police have to do the best they can, rely on people's


memories, they have to trawl for withins, that sort of thing. Today


the NSPCC said, this is fast becoming the worst campaign of


sexual abuse the charity has ever had to deal with. Yet, it received


only one complaint about the star back in 2008, before the latest


allegations surfaced. He is quite possibly going to be


one of the most prolific sexual predator, certainly we at the NSPCC


have come across. It spans five decades. At the moment we are


talking about over 200 victims, I suspect that number will go up.


What is happening, the more the story develop, more people are


coming forward and feeling confident enough to say this


happened to me. The criminal case might be the most significant


development so far in this scandal, but there are now half-a-dozen


separate inquiries under way, into his alleged abuse. The hospital


where Savile worked, Stoke Mandeville, Leeds and Broadmoor,


have started their own. The Department of Health has opened a


separate inquirey, the BBC is quarrying out three other reviews.


The BBC confirmed today it will broadcast a Panorama investigation


into Jimmy Savile on Monday. The corporation has also been given the


go ahead by the police, to start the own formal inquiry into the


culture at Television Centre at the time Savile was employed there. It


is understood that inquiry will start work immediately.


Jimmy Savile may be dead and gone, the focus is now on other abusers.


The people who might have helped hip, and the institutions that


might have turned a blind eye. What are the implications now this


has become a criminal inquiry, and how wide is the net of abuse.


Joining me is the former Children's Minister. What would be your


response to that news tonight. This is a live criminal investigation,


what do you understand by how big this could get? I think it is going


to get bigger. I'm afraid these news reports coming out daily have


almost made us immune to it. Clearly, as the NSPCC have said


today, a prolific abuser of children, but the worry is how much


further will it go. Are there other people involved? The police are


suggesting there are, these are people still alive and charges can


be brought against them. Have you any knowledge of how many people


they are looking in to now? All we have heard today is there are over


200 victims who have come to the police. The NSPCC have taken


hundreds of calls and referred 138 people to the police as well. I


fear we have only seen the tip of the iceberg, we are only dealing


with the BBC at the moment. This is a wake-up call for all sorts of


institutions who regularly deal with children and young people and


performance, independent television and so on, to absolutely thoroughly


look at their set-up, and check that they have got a robust plan to


make sure this sort of abuse is not happening under their watch too.


You say this is a wake-up call, how can so many institutions, and I


count the BBC amongst those, failed to pick up on what was happening


for so long? That is the exorder wry thing, so many different report


-- extraordinary thing, so many different reports, so many people


saying I heard the rumour, and I had a constituent saying was back


in Stoke Mandeville in the 1980s and said they knew all about it.


Nobody came forward then and was able to make it stick, it was the


sort of "it's Jimmy" attitude. This is not just a caper, it is serious


offence against children, and a serious crime, and absolutely


should be prosecuted. The wrapper of celebrity did make it easier. Do


you sense that showbiz still has that insulation? I think there is a


complacency of celebrity, we have seen that in the revelations of the


BBC. It is also if a teenage girl is found in the dressing room of a


football star or whatever, there is nudge, nudge, wink, wink. We have


to look at ourselves in society, where girls who have been the


subject of abuse, the Rochdale cases and the child exploitation we


have seen, or caught with celebrities, that a 14, 15-year-old


girl used for sexual gratification with older men, can be accused of


grat fying -- allowing that to happen. The celebrity status that


allows you groupies hanging outside the dressing room, how is that?


When I launched the Government's child exploitation strategy, in


response to the Rochdale cases and things like that, I warned that we


are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. That this was happening


all over the country and all racial backgrounds, what we are now seeing,


and I didn't imagine a year on, that we would be talking about


celebrities. You talked about a constituent member talking to you,


it never came up before? We are all shocked by the Pakistani male gang


revelations, and the political correctness allowing them to hide


behind those cultural sensitivites, we have seen it in the church, a


culture of fear where people didn't come forward, we are now seeing a


complacency of celebrity status as well. Wer we also are seeing


regulations around child -- we are also seeing the regulations on


child performances, I wanted to change them. They are out of date


going back to the 60s and before I want that to be changed. I was


unable to persuade our Secretary of State to put it in the children's


bill. I will take it forward as a private member's bill, and hope the


Government will support it. So a change to children who are


performers? It is very bureaucratic. Lots of children involved in


performances, and concerts, a lot of bureaucratic legislation is


there that isn't followed, we need something proportionate and safe.


So children, who are generally vulnerable to people who do ill by


them, can be assured they are being locked after. We need to bring it


into the 21st century. Tomorrow's papers in just a second,


first a look at the London Film Festival on the review show. We


have come to the capital to sample a selection from the BFI London


film festle value, we have the story of Belfast Godfather of Punk,


an adaptation of Salman Rushdie's supposedly unfilmable novel,


Midnight's Children, and the latest of the master of the macarbre, Tim


Burton, all that and Tori Amos live in the studio. Let's just whip


through the papers. Forgive the pun. Mitchell on his bike, and something


about the US elections tracking technology. The front of the


Independent, Newsnight e-mail accusing the BBC of a cover-up, it


says they were warned that broadcasters had misleading


statements about the Savile documentary. And police get their


man as Mitchell quits at last. And this look at Malali, who was shot


by the Taliban, now on her feet and making a recovery. The scratch