12:11am Saturday 18th January 2014
© Press Association 2014
Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell has revealed he speaks to the Prime Minister "quite often" and would be "very happy" to do any job to help him win re-election.
In comments which will fuel speculation about a possible return to the Cabinet, Mr Mitchell did not deny that the prospect of a comeback had been discussed with David Cameron, but said it was not appropriate to reveal details of private conversations.
Mr Mitchell resigned in the wake of the 2012 "Plebgate" row with police at the gates of Downing Street, but has since received an apology from Scotland Yard chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe after a serving officer admitted lying about witnessing the altercation.
The guilty plea by Pc Keith Wallis to a charge of misconduct in public office at the Old Bailey led to calls for the former international development secretary and chief whip's return to the Government.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions Mr Mitchell said: "I very much enjoyed being a Cabinet minister before, I enjoyed very much working with the Prime Minister and I would like to help ensure that the Conservative Party win the next election next year."
Asked by presenter Jonathan Dimbleby if he would accept a job offer from Mr Cameron he said: "I f the Prime Minister asked me to do anything which would help ensure he is prime minister after 2015 I would be very happy to help."
Pressed on whether he had discussed a Cabinet comeback with Mr Cameron, the Sutton Coldfield MP said: " I don't think it would be right for me to reveal ... private conversations. But I do speak to the Prime Minister quite often and I very much enjoy working with him."
Mr Mitchell became involved in a heated confrontation with police officer Toby Rowland, after he was refused permission to cycle through the main gate. The Sutton Coldfield MP later admitted swearing but denied Pc Rowland's claim that he used the word ''pleb''.
Following reports of the Plebgate incident, Mr Mitchell apologised for being disrespectful to police but denied using the words attributed to him.
But his apology was not enough to prevent members of the Police Federation of England and Wales protesting at the Conservative Party's annual conference in T-shirts bearing the slogan "Pc Pleb and Proud".
After meeting the MP in his constituency the Federation's Inspector Ken MacKaill said he had "no option but to resign", while Labour leader Ed Miliband described him as "toast" in the House of Commons and Mr Cameron himself said his chief whip was wrong to use the words he did.
The unrelenting pressure eventually led Mr Mitchell to offer his resignation on October 19, a month after the initial altercation.
Pc Rowland, the officer at the centre of the row, has issued a letter of claim for libel against Mr Mitchell relating to the issue in the wake of their differing accounts of the heated confrontation in Downing Street.
Prosecutors have found there was insufficient evidence to charge Pc Rowland with any criminal offence after the row, and Scotland Yard has said he will not face disciplinary action.
Mr Mitchell previously said he hoped the officer would give evidence on oath as part of the libel proceedings against the Sun newspaper. But Mr Rowland said he stood by his account of what was said.
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