Mitchell should have been sacked...

The Andrew Mitchell story has gone off the boil a little and with the chief whip not turning up to conference he'll hope it stays that way.

But his indiscretions have certainly not been forgotten by the party – by the troops he's meant to control.

Indeed, one backbench Tory I spoke to outlined how Mitchell's Downing Street rant at the police will undermine him as he seeks to discipline the indiscretions of others.

They said: 'He can be personally charming, but was always seen as a bit of a [expletive]. He's got this temper and he's hugely condescending to his inferiors and fawning to his superiors. Much has been made of the fact that he was campaign manager for David Davis and as soon as that went down the pan he greased up to George Osborne as soon as possible.'

They went on: 'Cameron and Osborne decided that the old whips office was not delivering and that was true.

'They have now got someone that was a whip 15 years ago and they thought that like Sir Francis Urquhart he would 'put a bit of stick about'. If anything it is going to create more problems. The parliamentary party has changed a lot, there are young people who have had real jobs who are not used to someone threatening them.'

They said: 'He would have been dead in the water had Parliament been sitting, it would have been awful. Can you imagine what PMQs would have been like with him on the front bench? He's not going to party conference. Not many [Tory] MPs have come out to criticise him, but its telling that few have come out in his support either.'

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They went on: 'He should have been [sacked]. It would have been difficult for Cameron and Osborne, but yes he should have been.

'The problem that he has got is that as chief whip he has got to have the confidence of the PM and of the majority of the parliamentary party. He's got to have not only the physical authority but the moral authority and without that it's difficult to operate.

'The first time he has to call someone in and give them a [dressing down] they will be able to turn around and say 'well excuse me, but I'm not going to take that from you'.'