Ex-Tory MP Bob Spink who defected to Ukip charged with electoral fraud

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Former Conservative MP Bob Spink, who defected to Ukip and became its first ever MP, has been charged with electoral fraud.

The 68-year-old has been charged alongside a second man, 38-year-old James Parkin, over allegations that they submitted false signatures on Ukip nomination papers.

The accusations relate to the local election for Castle Point Borough Council in south Essex in 2016.

Essex Police said Mr Spink has been charged with five counts of submitting false signatures on nomination papers on or before April 5 2016.

Mr Spink was first elected to Parliament in 1992, but lost his seat in 1997, before regaining it in 2001.

He defected to Ukip in 2008 and lost his seat to the Conservatives in 2010.

Mr Parkin has been charged with nine counts of submitting false signatures on nomination papers on or before April 5 2016.

Four of the charges related specifically to false signatures while the remaining five related to obtaining genuine signatures by misleading electors about what they were signing for.

Both men will appear at Ipswich Magistrates' Court on April 25.