Could attacks force Andrew Mitchell back to a development job?

Former U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell. Photo by: Chatham House / CC BY

Barely a month in his position as the U.K. Conservative Party’s chief whip, former development secretary Andrew Mitchell finds himself fending off calls for his resignation.

Mitchell was reportedly involved in a confrontation with police officers guarding 10 Downing Street, the headquarters of the U.K. government. There are various news reports alleging he swore at and mocked police officers who refused, for security reasons, to allow him to exit through the main gates of Downing Street.

The former Department for International Development head has admitted to cursing in front of the policemen but clarified that the swear word he used was not directed to the officers.

There are now proposals floating around London for an inquiry into Mitchell’s actions as well as calls for his resignation.  Mitchell, however, is likely to keep his post. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is ready to back his new chief whip unless more damaging information about the confrontation emerges, the Guardian says, citing government sources.

If Mitchell does find himself forced out of his position, he might still find a place back in the development community. Some members of the U.K. aid community, in particular, were disappointed to see Mitchell leave DfID and have praised his contribution to development.

Further, Mitchell enjoyed a high profile within the global development community and likewise helped boost that of his country. He was chosen to co-lead a global aid effectiveness panel and helped see Cameron appointed to a high-level group tasked to consul on post-2015 development goals.

Mitchell has reportedly stepped down from the aid effectiveness panel, but there is no confirmation yet if new DfID chief Justine Greening will replace him, according the D+C Magazine.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.