Anti-LGBT politician who was UKIP’s first MP is in court charged with electoral fraud
A stringently anti-LGBT politician has appeared in court, charged with five counts of electoral fraud.
Bob Spink, UKIP’s first ever MP, is also facing nine other charges, all relating to local council elections in May last year.
The former MP for Castle Point in Essex has denied all allegations, which include four counts of submitting false signatures on nomination papers.
Spink was elected as a Conservative MP in 2001 but defected to UKIP in 2008, and stayed on as an MP until the 2010 election, when he lost his seat to Tory candidate Rebecca Harris.
He was also the Conservative MP for Castle Point between 1992 and 1997.
Spink consistently voted against LGBT rights throughout his time in parliament, opposing any move to increase gay couples’ ability to adopt or get a civil partnership.
The politician also voted against attempts to educate children about homosexuality and designate sexual orientation as a basis for charging someone with discrimination.
Spink is accused of “obtaining the genuine signature of an elector for the purposes of nominating a candidate, despite the elector not knowing it was for that purpose” in the Castle Borough of Essex on or before April 5.
Another UKIP politician, James Parkin, 38, is Spink’s co-defendant.
The two appeared before Southend Magistrates’ Court today.
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Parkin, a UKIP party campaigner, of Canvey, Essex, has denied five counts of electoral fraud and four of supplying a false signature on nomination papers.
The prosecutor said the case would be suitable to be tried at the magistrates’ court.
However, Spink and Parkin opted to be tried by a crown court jury.
“These charges pertain to the obtaining of false signatures for the local elections, some charges relate to people not realising what they were signing,” said the prosecutor.
The pair were released on bail and will appear before a judge on June 5.
An Essex Police statement confirmed that the charges “relate to nomination papers for prospective UKIP council candidates.”