JAMES Cleverly has used public money to pay the council tax on his Essex home since 2015 despite his £150,000 salary.

Records reveal the Braintree MP and new Home Secretary has claimed back his council tax bill every year since he became an MP.

In April this year, the Conservative MP clawed back two payments to Braintree Council totalling £2,024.60, slightly more than last year’s claim of £1,827.95.

The basic salary of an MP is £86,584 a year and Mr Cleverly is entitled to an extra £67,505 for his top job in the Home Office, while also, like all non-London MPs, receiving an accommodation budget to help cover the cost of staying in the capital or his constituency.

Braintree and Witham Times: Minister - James Cleverly arriving at Downing Street last week for the first Cabinet meeting since Rishi Sunak's reshuffleMinister - James Cleverly arriving at Downing Street last week for the first Cabinet meeting since Rishi Sunak's reshuffle (Image: James Manning/PA Wire)

He is the only one of Essex’s current 18 all-Conservative MPs to have used taxpayers’ money to pay their council tax bill for their constituency home in the current financial year.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, ahead of the local elections in May, Mr Cleverly used the promise of “lower council tax” to encourage voters to choose his party.

“Lower council tax, better services, hard working representatives,” he wrote. “That’s what you get with @Conservatives running your local council.”

This year’s local elections saw the Tories keep control of Braintree Council, where councillors voted to increase council tax by 2.5 per cent in February.

Speaking before the vote, the leader of the council, Graham Butland, said the authority was facing unprecedented financial pressures but insisted it had worked hard to ensure the council tax rise was “as low as possible”.

Mr Cleverly’s office was contacted but had not responded at the time of publication.

Colchester MP Will Quince has reclaimed his share of the council tax on the London home he shares with North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson for the last three years but is yet to make a claim this year.

Vicky Ford, the MP for Chelmsford, claimed £684.04 for the council tax on her Westminster home in June this year.

Except for this year, Business Secretary and Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch has made a claim for council tax every year since she first won her seat in the Commons, though her expenses record does not confirm which property this relates to.