Images above: Beyond a Fringe cover; Andrew Mitchell MP
Returning to Plebgate
No matter what else he might have done in his career, Andrew Mitchell MP will always be known for ‘Plebgate’. In an altercation with police outside Downing St, it was reported he called them ‘plebs’, which he denied.
The affair led to four police officers being sacked for gross misconduct and in one case imprisoned, while Mitchell himself faced a bill of millions of pounds in legal fees after losing his libel case.
Andrew Mitchell will be talking to BBC politics presenter Jo Coburn in the Boston Room of George IV at 4.00 pm on Saturday 11 September, as part of the Chiswick Book Festival.
In his memoir Beyond a Fringe, Mitchell writes candidly about the Plebgate fiasco, admitting:
‘This is not an easy chapter to write. I have long since buried the sheer awfulness of these events, and reflecting on them is like a dog returning to its vomit.’
‘One of the most entertaining political memoirs in years’
His publishers describe the book as ‘Veering from the hilarious to the tragic’ and ‘one of the most entertaining political memoirs in years’.
They would wouldn’t they, to paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies giving evidence in another court case about a different political scandal. But independent readers seem to agree.
“A cracking good read – full of mischief and shrewd observation. Mitchell lifts the lid on so many layers of the British Establishment, and what he reveals will often make you laugh and occasionally make you want to weep. A human and political must-read.” – Gyles Brandreth (another of the Chiswick Book Festival’s speakers for 2021).
“For once, here is an enjoyable departure from the standard political memoir: entertaining anecdotes combined with robust commentary on Westminster life. For a political outsider, there was much to be learned here – I particularly appreciated the sober and insightful account of Andrew’s work both in and out of the Department for International Development, a revelation in many senses.” – Penelope Lively
A critique of the Establishment from the inside
Andrew Mitchell is about as Establishment as they come.
‘From his prep school years, straight out of Evelyn Waugh, through the army to Cambridge, the City of London and the Palace of Westminster, Mitchell has passed through a series of British institutions at a time of furious social and political change – in the process becoming rather more cynical about the British Establishment’.
He was President of the Cambridge Union in 1978 and worked at the investment bank Lazard before becoming an MP. His father Sir David Mitchell was a Conservative MP for 33 years. Andrew has been MP for Sutton Coldfield since 2001, returned at both the 2017 and 2019 general elections with over 60% of the vote.
Andrew served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development from 2010 – 2012 and tehn briefly as Government Chief Whip in the House of Commons.
‘Whipping, like stripping, is best done in private’ he writes.
He also confesses to accidentally starting Boris Johnson’s political career and and later backing him to be Prime Minister – ‘an act which rebounded on him spectacularly’.
Praise from politicians of the Left and Right – and from Bob Geldof
‘Engagingly honest about his ups and downs in politics, Beyond a Fringe is crammed with hilarious political anecdotes and irresistible insider gossip from the heart of Westminster’ says the publicity blurb.
“This is a thoroughly refreshing personal and political memoir.” – Bob Geldof
“This is not your usual self-serving political autobiography. A pacy read, mixing light and shade, and light and heavy, it is unsparing – on the author as well on others. The story of his role in Boris Johnson’s rise, also confirms me in my view that Boris Johnson should be nowhere near Downing Street.” – Alastair Campbell
“Honest and insightful, Beyond a Fringe taught me loads I didn’t know about how the other side works. A brilliant read.” Jess Phillips.
Chiswick Book Festival
See Andrew Mitchell MP talking to Jo Coburn about his book Beyond a Fringe at the Chiswick Book Festival 2021 at 4.00 pm on Saturday 11 September in the Boston Room of George IV. The session is called ‘Westminster Secrets’. Hosted by The Chiswick Calendar.
Book tickets: Ticketsource/ChiswickBookFestival
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