An MP says there must be “serious consequences” and a full investigation into the circumstances that saw almost £143,000 paid by a council to the estate of a former chief executive.

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris has called the huge payment paid to the estate of David Marchant “deeply concerning”.

Following an investigation uncovering the payment made by Castle Point Council “in lieu of annual leave”, Ms Harris has said there must be “serious consequences” if the contract was agreed without consultation of senior councillors.

The arrangements were agreed in Mr Marchant's contract in 2005 when he was appointed chief executive of Castle Point Council.

Ms Harris said: “This is deeply concerning.

“This is a very substantial sum of taxpayer money and if it was spent without the proper authority of elected councillors then there should be serious consequences.

“The council need to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible and be fully transparent to the public.”

Following the release of the freedom of information request, the Echo asked Castle Point Council a series of questions over the contract but did not receive full answers.

The Echo queried who had oversight of the decision in which the contract was agreed, and who had advised the council on the terms of the contract.

The Echo also asked if elected members of the council were shown this arrangement and questioned if this was put to members of the council at any public meeting meeting.

The only response provided by Castle Point Council was to state a report on the draft accounts, including audit findings around historical senior manager pay, is being prepared.

Current Castle Point Conservative party leader Beverley Egan was also a cabinet member in 2005 when the contract was awarded to Mr Marchant.

She has stated that she was unaware at the time of the contract being agreed, and believes the majority of councillors were unaware until Andrew Sheldon, former council leader, launched an investigation into the payment.

She said: “I was not made aware of this at the time. I wouldn’t have known when he was taken on and I don’t have any awareness of anyone being consulted regarding this payment.”