UK minister Mitchell quits over 'pleb' police outburst

October 19, 2012 19:43

LONDON - British cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell resigned from the government on Friday after failing to shake off accusations he had sworn at police and called them "plebs" during a row outside Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office.

Mitchell, the so-called "Chief Whip" responsible for keeping discipline among lawmakers in Cameron's Conservative Party, denied using the offending words but admitted making unacceptable comments after being told to get off his bicycle as he left Downing Street last month.

"Over the last two days it has become clear to me that whatever the rights and wrongs of the matter I will not be able to fulfill my duties as we would both wish," he said in a letter of resignation to Cameron.

Cameron has struggled to shake off the impression that he and other senior members of his party comes from a privileged background far removed from the electorate, and the accusations against Mitchell had proved highly damaging.

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