A former MP who misled voters to sign his nomination forms has been convicted of electoral fraud today (1 December).
Bob Spink, 69, had denied under the Representation of the People Act 1983 but was convicted by a jury at Southwark Crown Court.
The court heard how Spink had planned to stand as a candidate for the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May 2016 for the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
He had to gather at least 110 signatures on his nomination form for the Police and Crime Commissioner but he also assisted his election agent James Parkin gather signatures for UKIP candidates in the Castle Point Borough Council elections which were taking place at the same time.
However, he failed to tell voters which party he was affiliated with or presented them with blank forms to sign without a name or party. People signed the forms without being told they were actually nominating various other UKIP candidates, with some being told they were signing a petition for more police on the streets.
Spink’s election agent, James Parkin, 39 (20 Nov 78), has already pleaded guilty to falsely adding signatures to other UKIP candidates’ nomination forms. He also submitted four signatures on another nomination form without those signing knowing what the form was for or thinking they were signing for a different purpose.
Zoë Martin, from the CPS, said: “Bob Spink and James Parkin deliberately misled voters in order to fraudulently secure signatures on nomination forms.
“They did this through either lying or being deliberately vague with voters, or in James Parkin’s case, by simply forging signatures by taking names from the electoral register.
“As a former MP, residents could recognise Spink and were more willing to engage with him. But he ultimately betrayed their trust by using their signatures for his own purposes that they had not been made aware of and had not agreed to.
“Evidence put forward by the CPS showed that Spink had misled voters when he canvassed them, resulting in the guilty verdict returned by the jury.”
Spink and Parkin will be sentenced on 5th January.
Notes to editors
- Zoe Martin is a Unit Head in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division.
- James Parkin pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or permitting a false signature to be included in a nomination form on 4 September. He was convicted of a further two counts of permitting a false signature to be included in a nomination form.
- Bob Spink denied four counts of causing or permitting a false signature to be included in a nomination form but was convicted by a jury.