Newcastle-under-Lyme Tory MP Aaron Bell has 'serious problems with leadership at Number 10'

Tory MP Aaron Bell tells ITV Central he has 'serious problems' with PM's leadership at Number 10

The Conservative MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme said he has "serious problems" with the leadership at Downing Street.

Aaron Bell told ITV Central's Political Correspondent Alison MacKenzie: "I won't comment about whether I've put a letter in to the [1922 committee]."

He adds: "But I think it's pretty clear if you read the room from what I said yesterday that I have serious problems not only with the operation at Number 10 but the leadership of this country.

"I think there has been a real breach of trust - not just with Conservative MPs but with ordinary, decent people who followed the rules and obeyed the rules."

Mr Bell voiced his anger and sadness following Sue Gray's investigation update into the alleged Downing Street parties.

He said he wanted to "represent everybody" who felt the same way as him after learning about "what was going on in Number 10".

His comments come as Boris Johnson faced an inquiry into alleged rule-breaking in Number 10 and Whitehall and it found there had been "failures of leadership and judgment" under his watch.

The report condemned a "serious failure" in Downing Street to observe coronavirus standards and said, "a number" of gatherings should not have been allowed to take place.

Mr Bell reflected on his own personal loss during the lockdown in the Commons on Wednesday.

He said: "It seems a lot of people attended events in May 2020 – the one I recall attending was my grandmother’s funeral.

"She was a wonderful woman. I drove for three hours from Staffordshire to Kent, there were only 10 at the funeral, many people who loved her had to watch online."

He added: "I didn’t hug my siblings, I didn’t hug my parents, I gave the eulogy and then afterwards I didn’t even go to her house for a cup of tea.

"I drove back three hours from Kent to Staffordshire."

He went on to ask, "Does the Prime Minister think I’m a fool?"

Mr Johnson accepted Sue Gray's findings and apologised, saying he is "sorry for the things we simply didn't get right and also sorry for the way that this matter has been handled". 

He said he would "learn from these events and act now" by implementing changes to improve the running of government.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised to the House of Commons on Monday. Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Mr Bell said: "I've had so many emails from constituents who have experienced huge deprivation, especially during that first lockdown when we were all incredibly scared with this new virus.

"In many ways, my story is relatively inconsequential compared to that.

"My nan had a great innings - she lived to 99 and it wasn't the worst funeral in the world - but it did hurt that we had to sit apart and that we couldn't hug each other.

"I wanted to stand up and really represent everybody who felt the same way at that time and felt the same way as me about what we've learned about what was going on at Number 10."