Hurry up! Labour lends a hand as Mitchell allies demand Met plebgate report

The government is refusing to put pressure on the Metropolitan police's slow-paced investigation of the plebgate scandal, despite intense frustration from all sides of the Commons.

Labour MPs made common cause with Conservative allies of former chief whip Andrew Mitchell in Home Office questions this afternoon.

One ally of Mitchell told shortly afterwards the former chief whip is concerned the delay in his expected exoneration could imperil his chances of returning to the government if the rumoured reshuffle takes place later this year.

Operation Alice has already cost the taxpayer £144,000 and is taking up the time of 30 police officers but is yet to report on an incident which home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz pointed out lasted just 45 seconds.

Labour's campaigns coordinator Tom Watson voiced concerns that Mitchell was the "victim of police spin at the highest level of the Metropolitan police".

And Crispin Blunt, another Labour backbencher, pointed out journalists had taken just ten days to reveal the CCTV footage showing the police's version of events was inaccurate.

He asked: "Might it not be an idea to put Channel 4's Dispatches [programme] in charge of the investigation?"

Frustration from the Labour benches reinforced calls for a swift resolution of the investigation, jointly carried out by the Met and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, by right-wing supporters of Mitchell within the Conservative party.

David Davis called for a "strict disciplinary code" forcing police officers to log every time they brief journalists. Richard Ottaway said the Met "have a lot of questions to answer".

"I am as eager as my honourable friend to see justice done at the end of this episode," Green said.

"It is not for ministers to set timetables.

"To ask ministers to intervene closely and in a detailed way in the work of operationally independent police forces or the IPCC would be the wrong way to go."