THE MP for Braintree is calling for support from constituents as his pet pooch aims to be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year.

James Cleverly's five-month old Border Terrier Coco has been shortlisted for the prestigious prize and will look to fight off competition from other hounds during a special event at Victoria Tower Gardens in London on September 5.

Mr Cleverly, who was handed a spot in Boris Johnson's new cabinet last month, is calling on constituents to pledge their support for Coco by taking part in the 'paw-blic' vote.

The votes, along with on the day judging, will help decide the winner of this year's competition.

Coco will be one of 19 dogs vying for the prestigious title and will be competing against the likes of Hercules the Longhaired Miniature Dachshund, who is owned by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Mr Cleverly said: "Coco is affectionate and friendly towards both humans and dogs, and is a great source of comfort during stressful times at work. She’s also a wonderful companion for my family when I’m working long hours.

“Both Coco and I are looking forward to taking part in Westminster Dog of the Year.

"We invest a lot of time in puppy training so this will be a great opportunity to highlight the importance of responsible dog ownership as well as accelerating the work MPs are doing to improve dog welfare in Parliament, particularly around puppy smuggling."

The competition is jointly run by Dogs Trust and the Kennel Club and has been running since 1992.

This year's theme focuses on promoting responsible dog ownership, making sure that alongside all the joys of having a dog, owners recognise the responsibility they have to ensure their four-legged friend is a positive member of the community and is able to live a happy and healthy life.

Alongside this, the competition encourages an open dialogue on important dog welfare issues, as well as providing an opportunity for MPs to meet with experts to discuss all aspects of the canine world.

To cast your vote, visit