A leading Conservative councillor has called on MPs to get behind Liz Truss - and for her to show leadership.

Councillor Alan Marshall, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for the economy, expressed his "extreme disappointment and frustration" at the furore which has engulfed Westminster.

He said: "I think that locally as a Conservative council we've got a strong story to tell.

"But we're getting undermined by the behaviour of the parliamentary MPs down in Westminster which is blighting everybody's view of the Conservatives, and that's what I find frustrating.

"I think we've had a successful administration and we're delivering on our promises. The town centre, attracting good jobs through the Darlington Economic Campus, and we're still attracting interest from outside."

Read more: Council leader: 'Darlington's voice has never been stronger'

But he said that would probably be lost with the "atrocious" and "childish" behaviour of some MPs.

He added: "It's having a negative impact on us locally.

"We're well supported in our frustrations and views and we've been lobbying Peter Gibson and Paul Howell.

"What I want to see now is an inflationary increase in welfare benefits because we have a lot of people who are struggling.

"We feel as if we're just being totally let down by the parliamentary party and they're undermining our credibility here in Darlington with their lack of credibility at present because of their behavours.

"We went through an election process. It isn't perfect but it ended up with a result, and now they're fighting against the result of that.

"I think they should get behind the leader whether they like her or don't like her. I think we need to put a united front up.

"I'm pleased we've have the about turns on the mini-budget and we seem to have settled things down in the markets, but we need to get MPs working with the leadership, with the cabinet, with the Prime Minister, to get this country moving forward.

"And while they're all fighting and bitching on like children in the schoolyard it isn't going to get anywhere.

"And we've got elections coming up in May, so there isn't a lot of time to put things right.

"I think the whole Conservative parliamentary party has to get behind the Prime Minister and support what she's trying to do.

"She's admitted she made mistakes, she put things right and she's moving on. It's wrong what's happening with MPs going against her, briefing against her. What does that do for confidence in this country? Nothing.

"She has to assert her authority somehow. She's got to assert her authority and MPs have got to coalesce around her.

"She really has to work at that. She's the Prime Minister, she needs to show that she's the Prime Minister and she needs to make it happen."

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