But his comments pose more questions than they answer.

Hogan-Howe told LBC radio today that the real story behind Andrew Mitchell being accused of calling a police officer a pleb, or “plebgate” as it’s been dubbed, will “surprise” people.

“That is not the whole story,” Hogan-Howe said. “I hope when people hear the full story they will understand why I’ve had some dilemma in talking about it today. We were quite surprised at what happened and I suspect they will be too.”

The police officer involved in the encounter with then MP Mitchell, who has since been forced to resign, was arrested at the weekend under suspicion of misconduct in public office and leaking information.

The case is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Hogan-Howe said.

“It’s an ongoing criminal investigation,” he said. “I hope people understand that. And I also hope people understand that there is more to this than meets the eye. I’m afraid I’m constrained in explaining that. I hope that when people hear the full story they will support what we’ve done.”

Police are standing by the officer’s account of the clash in which Tory whip Mitchell was accused of insulting police guarding Downing Street in September.

“There’s nothing I have seen … that causes me to doubt that original account,” Hogan-Howe said in light of new information.

Hogan-Howe added the officer wasn’t on duty when the alleged incident with Mitchell took place.

He did confirm the officer was being investigated for leaking information.

“The only thing I will say is that I don’t think from what I’ve heard up to now that it’s really affected the original account of the officers at the scene because this officer we’ve arrested isn’t one of those involved originally. This is another officer who wasn’t there at the time.”

The investigation is expected to conclude by Christmas.

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