By Dan Santy Friday 21 September 2012 Updated: 21/09 08:55
FORMER Rugby School pupil Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell has been appointed the new Government chief whip as part of David Cameron's shake-up of the cabinet.
Mr Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian going back to his days as prefect and head of the Tudor boarding house at Rugby School in the 1970s.
Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed him as chief whip and put him in charge of ending rebellions and in-fighting over issues such as House of Lords reform.
His job will be to restore order within the Conservative party and convince rebellious backbench MPs to back the Prime Minister.
But he has already caused controversy for the Government after being forced to apologise for making disrespectful remarks to police who made him get off his bicycle while leaving Downing Street on Wednesday (September 19) evening.
It happened after armed police turned Mr Mitchell away from the main Downing Street gate and insisted he use a smaller pedestrian entrance.
In a statement, Mr Mitchell denied he had sworn at the officers and called them 'plebs' as reported in The Sun.
He said: "On Wednesday night I attempted to leave Downing Street via the main gate, something I have been allowed to do many times before. I was told that I was not allowed to leave that way.
"While I do not accept that I used any of the words that have been reported, I accept I did not treat the police with the respect they deserve.
"I have seen the supervising sergeant and apologised, and will also apologise to the police officer involved."
A boarder at Rugby School between 1969 and 1974, Mr Mitchell was honorary secretary of the Debating Society and Commodore of Sailing in his final year.
The self-confessed 'stern disciplinarian' supposedly earned the nickname 'Thrasher' at the town's famous public school while head of house there - giving him the ideal characteristics for the job of chief whip.
Mr Mitchell, who served with the Royal Tank Regiment, was the first appointment announced in David Cameron's recent cabinet reshuffle.
He said he was looking forward to his new role and the challenges it will bring after a two year stint as International Development Secretary.
David Cameron, speaking of Mr Mitchell's appointment as chief whip, said: "Andrew will ensure strong support for our radical legislative programme, by working hard to win the argument in the Commons as well as playing a big role in the No 10 team.
"He will be invaluable as the Government embarks on the next, vital phase of its mission to restore our economy to growth and reform our public services."
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