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Tory MP slams PM over Sue Gray report while recalling socially-distanced funeral of Kent grandmother


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A Tory MP has slammed Boris Johnson over the Sue Gray 'partygate report' – asking the Prime Minister if he was a "fool" for following Covid restriction rules at the funeral of his Kent grandmother.

MP Aaron Bell described how in 2020 only 10 people had attended the funeral of his grandmother – a loyal member of Dartford Conservative Association who he described as a "wonderful woman".

Aaron Bell MP addresses Boris Johnson in the Commons

Mr Bell spoke in the House of Commons after the publication of Sue Gray's report, which found there had been a "failure of leadership" over parties held at Downing Street.

He explained how while he and his family grieved for his grandmother without even hugging one another, the prime minister had admitted attending a gathering in he garden of Downing Street in the same month.

"It seems a lot of people attended events in 2020, the one I recall attending was my grandmother's funeral," the representative for Newcastle-Under-Lyme said.

"She was a wonderful woman, as well as her love for her family she served her community as a councillor and she served Dartford Conservative Association loyally for many years.

Aaron Bell in the Commons. Picture: Parliament TV
Aaron Bell in the Commons. Picture: Parliament TV
Boris Johnson is under fire over alleged parties held at Downing Street. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA
Boris Johnson is under fire over alleged parties held at Downing Street. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

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

"I didn't hug my siblings, I didn't hug my parents, I gave the eulogy and then I didn't even go to her house for a cup of tea, I drove back three hours from Kent to Staffordshire.

"Does the prime minister think I'm a fool?"

At the time of the funeral, laws had been brought in banning more than 10 people at funerals, and forcing attendees to remain socially distanced.

But it has since been alleged around 30 people - including Mr Johnson - attended a party in the garden of Downing Street in the same month.

The Met Police, which is now conducting a probe into 12 parties which are said to have broken Covid restrictions, has received more than 300 pictures as part of their investigation.

In response to Mr Bell's statement, Mr Johnson said: "I want to say how deeply I sympathise with him and his family for their loss.

"All I can say is again that I am very sorry or any misjudgements that may have been made by anyone else in Number 10 and the Cabinet office and I ask him to respectfully to look at what Sue Gray said and also wait for the conclusion of the inquiry."

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