Andrew Mitchell quit as the British government's chief whip tonight a month after his notorious confrontation with police in Downing Street.

In a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Mitchell said it had become clear that "I will not be able to fulfil my duties as we would both wish".

But he again denied calling the officers "plebs" after they refused to let him cycle out of the main gates.

The resignation came amid rumours that he had lost the backing of colleagues in the whips' office.

Mr Mitchell admitted that the episode had been "upsetting and damaging" for the party, thanking Mr Cameron for his "loyalty".

And for the first time, he publicly spelled out his version of the incident.

"I have made clear to you - and I give you my categorical assurance again - that I did not, never have and never would call a police officer a 'pleb' or a 'moron' or used any of the other pejorative descriptions attributed to me," he wrote.

"The offending comment and the reason for my apology to the police was my parting remark, 'I thought you guys were supposed to f***ing help us'.

"It was obviously wrong of me to use such bad language and I am very sorry about it and grateful to the police officer for accepting my apology."