U.K. Lawmakers Criticize Police Over ‘Plebgate’ Testimony

A panel of U.K. lawmakers criticized police for their testimony in its investigation into events that led to the resignation of a cabinet minister.

Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative chief whip in charge of party discipline in the House of Commons, resigned last year after being accused of calling police officers outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s central London residence “plebs” because they refused to let him cycle through the main gate, a charge he denied.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee called three officials from the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, for questioning last month about allegations they had given inaccurate accounts of their roles in the affair, which has become known in the U.K. as “plebgate.”

The panel said in a report published in London today that their testimony was “misleading, possibly deliberately so, and lacking in credibility.” It said it was recalling two of the officials to apologize and correct their testimony.

“The narrative of what we have seen could rival any great work of fiction,” the committee’s chairman, Keith Vaz, said in an e-mailed statement. “At every point and at every level, instead of being transparent, we have uncovered a process that obstructs the truth. If this can happen to a cabinet minister, what hope is there for anyone else?”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said in a statement on its website today that it will conduct an independent investigation after reviewing the testimony to the Commons panel. The Police Federation said in a statement that it would be inappropriate to comment in light of the probe.

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