Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bob Spink: UKIP Are Welcome to Him

I've never met Bob Spink, but from what I know of his views and career, I doubt whether he and I would really hit it off. The kind of politician who puts on his election leaflet "What part of send them back, Mr Blair" is not someone I can relate to. When I read about that I felt he was in the wrong party. He may have many attributes but so far they have escaped my notice. His behaviour today was reprehensible and the Conservative Chief Whip, Patrick McLoughlin., did the only thing he could do - tell him to sit on it and swivel.

If Spink had had any judgement, he would have looked at and learned from what happened to Sir Patrick Cormack, who recently emerged victorious from a deselection battle. Sir Patrick handled the whole thing with skill and decorum. There were no tantrums, but he waited until his enemies struck. He flushed them out and defeated them. Spink hasn't even had the guts to face his critics. I have no idea what the allegations he makes against his constituency association amount to. No doubt they will be widely discussed and investigated, but as far as Mr Spink is concerned, the die is cast.

So what happens now? Spink has dug an even deeper hole for himself in a further statement this evening, which indicates to me that there will be no way back for him. Good. I've little doubt that Spink will stand as an Independent against whoever is chosen to succeed him. His only chance of achieving anything other than a humiliating result will be to fight under the banner of another Party. He already has a track record of defending UKIP, so I'd bet money that he'll end up with them. His defection was already rumoured a couple of years ago.

These internal party spats are always unseemly and no one ever emerges with much credit. But the boil has now been well and truly lanced and it's probably a good thing.


Luke Akehurst said...


I stood against Bob as Labour candidate in Castle Point in 2005 and with my LD counterpart exposed his "send them back" advert nationally.

I deplore his views on Europe and immigration but would defend his personal integrity.

He was threatened with deselection not because of his views on national issues but because he offended powerful local business interests in the building trade by opposing planning applications that were not in the interests of his constituents.

He has made allegations of political corruption in Castle Point that chime with what local residents told me on the doorstep and need proper investigation by both the public authorities and the Tory Party.

Luke Akehurst

Anonymous said...

From Camerons performance at PMQ's today I think many more will join him inn UKIP. I have never seen such a wet performance at PMQ's before.

With the government in so much shit there should be a 20-30 point lead in the polls, not the small margin as currently, all directly due to the wet ideas of its current leadership. Both Cameron and Osborne are too weak to lead the party to victory.

Scipio said...

From memory of when I was Essex Area Conservative Future Chairman, he was a Eurosceptic, but the officers of his constituency were curiously pro-Europe, and 'tolerated' his views. He was of course re-selected after losing in 97, but I suspect that the good will has finally broken down - and he is now looking for reasons to justify leaving.

Anonymous said...

Iain -

I don't know where you've found this photo but it does make him look like someone on "Crimewatch" who is being pursued for fraud.

As in....employing at the tax-payers expense family / ex-family members to do jobs that they're really not doing.

Still, even if his political career is now over, the local theatre will never be short of someone to play "Ratty" in a production of The Wind in the Willows.

Anonymous said...

Luke Akehurst - last 2 paragraphs - sounds like stirring. How would you like it if Tories went around riling the loons in your Party to cause a bit of a ruckus? No? Then don't do it here!

You're right with the start - Bob Spink is a nauseous hate-monger. One-up for the Tory Party I think.

Anonymous said...

Apart from anything: resigning on the day of the Budget is not great timing!

Anonymous said...

This is not the first time Spink has thrown the toys out of his pram, their is obviously a long standing disagreement between himself and his local constituency.

But I agree with Iain, after looking at Spink's record I can see that I wouldnt agree with many of his views.

Anonymous said...

If what Luke says is true it would appear that the Conservative Chief Whip should apologise and resign. Cameron is becoming unelectable through weakness as it stands despite an appalling Labour Government. The answer was Ken Clarke.

Anonymous said...


Firstly I could not disagree with you more. Cameron's performance was simply sublime in all respects. He impresses me more the more I here him. The same goes for every single member of my constituency party. Hardly any of which voted for him in the party leader election. That includes myself.

You may or may not be a Conservative voter. But you are surly not a Conservative member. Cameron got 70% when getting elected. I can assure you he would get 90% or more now.

Atlas shrugged

Curbishly said...

Unfortunately Luke is "spinning" here.

Spink is our MP and he has made allegations against councillors and local business men. These allegations are being investigated by the Police.

We await the outcome.

Also there are the little local difficulties of Spink having an affair with the wife of a local councillor (of whom some of these allegations were made)and the allegations of his ex-wife receiving a "salary" from his Parliamentary expenses.

Your comments Iain are spot on and I feel they "Chime" more so with our residents than Luke imagines.

But perhaps that's why he lost.

Anonymous said...

So Dave has now lost 3 of his MPs - who's next?

The Wintertons, perhaps, or Bercow to defect? Or is there a dark horse in this race?

Anonymous said...

I've no idea what this is all about but I take my hat off to Luke Akehurst for his generous comment (10.25pm.)

He sounds like an honourable gentleman; would that there were more like him at Westminster.

If I were a local Labour Party chairman looking for a candidate I'd snap him up quick. Sod the selection process, just appoint him.

Anonymous said...

To have to withdraw the whip in 3 years of a Parliament from 3 MPs out of only 208 (and to lose a fourth through defection) looks a bit like carelessness when it comes to your party's candidate selection process.

"2% of Tory MPs elected in 2005 no longer Tories" makes an unsettling headline...

Anonymous said...

Atlas said ...
"Cameron got 70% when getting elected. I can assure you he would get 90% or more now."

That is really a reflection of the unsuitability of the alternative candidates.

Anonymous said...

What context was Bob Spink using 'send them back'? If he meant:illegal immigrants; immigrant al-qaida sympathisers; non-working immigrants;the children who get into the country WITHOUT an adult accompanying them (ie) Oxford has quite a few 'in care');then he is quite right. I know he comes across as 'slightly unhinged', but if his accusations of corruption etc,, are found to be correct then Chief Whip (and local CP conservative assoc) look pretty damn stupid.

Anonymous said...

Atla shrugged said ...
"I could not disagree with you more. Cameron's performance was simply sublime in all respects. He impresses me more the more I here him. "

You are in a minority of one.

Anonymous said...

Send what back where? The Castle Point voters must like his views on whatever it is cos his share of the vote went up nearly 4% to 48%.

Anonymous said...

I thought "send them back" was a main plank of both the Tory and Labour parties' policies these days.

Certainly that is the case when trying to appeal to the voters although when it comes to putting it into action that is another case.

Anonymous said...

The more I read of Bob Spink's views on immigration, abortion, the EU, etc, the more I agree with him. I think that he reflects the views of most grass-roots Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Spink the Spiv was recently organising a UKIP campaign around the EU referendum...
Can't help but think that he's deceived his electors by standing as a Conservative.

Anonymous said...

"When I read about that I felt he was in the wrong party."

It is now clear that the Tory hierarchy have been fibbing about who left whom. So this Spink seems to be a person who tells the truth and supports English people. Obviously he was in the wrong party.

janestheone said...

Iain is wrong. Bob has showed integrity in standing up and telling the House rather than spinning to whoever. It's not a crime to be a working-class Tory of independent mind. Luke Akehurst is right about why they have been seeking to deselect Bob Spink, and CCHQ should have moved agains the corrupt clique in the Castle Point association.

M. Hristov said...

The Deputy Speaker, Alan Haslehurst, dealt with this very well. Spink had ‘shot himself in the foot’ by making allegations of criminality and thereby starting a police investigation and then thinking that he could discuss the ongoing police investigation openly in the House of Commons chamber. The Deputy Speaker remained polite but firm when dealing with Spink.

It seems to me that MPs like Spink cannot ‘get their heads around’ the fact that if you abolish deference, by encouraging the Thatcherite revolution, then you can expect to have you own position undercut, in time. This new lack of deference means that constituency parties are more inclined to deselect MPs. Likewise, there is a woeful lack of appreciation, on the Labour benches, that you cannot criminalise large parts of society without occasionally falling ‘into the trap’ yourselves.

Spink and his cohorts must be shocked that their privileges are being undermined but they made such a mess of running the party (losing three elections in a row) that they are completely to blame for the fact that the Old Etonians have come back to power. The Old Etonians job is now to make the Conservative Party electable again.

There now seems to be a divide between ’the old guard’ and the Old Etonians on matters of ethnicity. It is completely unacceptable to adopt an attitude of “send them back”, not least because ’they’ are now us. Second and third generation Britons, indistinguishable from their fellows.

Talking about ‘the old guard’, Simon Heffer has left you an open goal this week, Iain.

Newspaper journalists are another set of people who think that they are immune to the rules that govern the rest of us. Viz Iain Martin “Don’t mess with The British Press”. I am afraid that circulation is already falling and once it falls to a certain level “The Establishment” will start to exert its power. The government will introduce regulations and start to attack the profession. Inaccuracy by a newspaper journalist will be punished in the same way that inaccuracy by a lawyer or doctor is now punished. They will also introduce privacy laws which will be enforced by the judges. The abuses used to obtain the private information of individuals will be curbed and editors will start being jailed again, for contempt of court. Enjoy your freedom whilst it lasts, Simon, and I hope you don’t come to regret the attacks that you and your peers have made on other professions over the years. You do not appreciate true freedom until you lose it and, make no mistake about it, this government has undermined the freedom of teachers, doctors and lawyers. They will have no qualms about curbing the press. Then, Simon, you will start to understand why we need an electable Conservative Party.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I think that you should investigate your claims more thoroughly. Bob Spink made the comment about 'what part of send them back' did Mr Blair not understand in relation to failed asylum seekers rather than immigrants as a whole group.

Anonymous said...

Simon - the context is immaterial -the fact is that murderous thugs see a fellow traveller. cf Enoch Powell - in context he wasn't being a nasty vicious racist, but unwitttingly became their chief comforter.

Anonymous said...


IMO the joke is the number of Conservative MPs who IMO don/t stick up for small "c" conservative views.

Anonymous said...

When Spink said, "send them back", he was referring to some custom self-pics Chris Bryant had mailed to him, so all sly innuendos are a load of pants.

Helen said...

Sorry, Machiavelli, but you are wrong. That campaign for a referendum (Tory policy surely) was not organized around UKIP. At the rally there was one UKIP speaker and, at least, two Conservative ones, as well as a Liberal (not Lib-Dem) and Danish June Movement. You are welcome to disagree with eurosceptic views and think a referendum on the revamped Constitution is a bad idea but do not misrepresent events.

Oscar Miller said...

You are in a minority of one.

March 13, 2008 9:53 AM

That minority of one seems pretty sizeable judging by the approving responses to Cameron's speech yesterday across the blogosphere - take a look at the comments on PoliticalBetting (not a partisan site) for genuine reactions as Cameron spoke. Cameron did extremely well yesterday. But our broadcasters - led by the BBC- did everything they could to obliterate coverage of him and big up Darling's bore of a budget.

Anonymous said...

"Can't help but think that he's deceived his electors by standing as a Conservative."

That will be both him and David Cameron then.

Arden Forester said...

An honest and decent comment from Luke Akehurst! We can deplore peoples views but should defend their personal integrity when it is untainted.

If there is political corruption in Castle Point, then all good political people should join together in rooting it out. Luke is absolutely right.

Anonymous said...

If there is any criminal activity then Bob Spink brings shame on the Conservatives for not going to the Police.

Don't fling about unspecified allegations - go to the Police and let them ddeal with it.

Simple isn't it!

And as for Luke Akehurst - anybody can spread doorstep tittle tattle but if anybody has proof of wrong doing go to the Police.

Anonymous said...

I was the lib dem candidate for Castle Point in the last election. There was no secret that half of the local tory association didn't like Bob Spink and there was a culture of open warfare and splits amongst Essex Tories. But the local political elite did appear to be a law unto themselves; the Canvey Island Independence Party now have almost as many councillors as the tories on the BC. Bob Spink is a right-wing maverick, but its perhaps not surprising that he survived with a high vote given the sort of political and business interests that dominate in his constituency, and the local tradition of right wing independents. I don't say that to make any adverse inference about residents in Castle Point, on the contary my experience on the doorstep was that residents were contempuous of their local politicians who have run the area down - its just that they were the status quo.

Raising the 'send em back' flag was uncessarily provocative, it hugely upset the few immigrants who had settled in Castle Point. Luke and I were right to take him on over that.

As for his personal integrity, he never struck me as dishonest - yes the row over wife, lover, step- daughter & office expenses is all terrible for his reputation and politics in general, but he's never put up a face of denial or duplicity over it and surprisingly has been one of the more vocal MPs calling for reform of MPs privileges. All I can say is that whenever I met him he was personally extremely gracious, even though we had generated massive criticism of him in the national press.

The sorry episode all contrasts with the smooth metropolitanism that Cameron tries to exude, the tories will never succeed in 'reaching out' to wider a support base when in so places where they have hegomony the tories are narrow, unapealing/ embarrasing social and business cliques, and the public discover what the real grassroots tory party is really like.

James Sandbach

Anonymous said...

No doubt Iain will be rejected by castle point as he was by maidstone and the weald.

Why can't you understand that the tories don't wat you?

Maidstone don't want you
Norfolk north don't want you
NOBODY wants you.

Why don't you stick with 18 doughty street? OH YEAH, I remember, IT WAS A COMPLETE FAILURE as I'm sure your magazine will be.

Anonymous said...

Pieman (...cough!)- what 'murderous thugs' are you on about?! Since when has being strong on illegal/legal immigration been akin to being a 'murderous thug'? People these days.....

Anonymous said...

M. Hristov said...

"It is completely unacceptable to adopt an attitude of “send them back”, not least because ’they’ are now us."

Dream on.

"Then, Simon, you will start to understand why we need an electable Conservative Party."

It may be electable now, but whichever part of the liblabcons get elected it will not be with many votes. The English have had enough of 'them' being imposed on 'us' by the likes of you. That deferent enough for you Monsieur?

Anonymous said...

My Dear Sir,

I think Conservatives deceive voters by standing as Conservatives these days. That is why I and many others have left for UKIP.

David Lindsay said...

So that's three people elected as Tories who no longer are. And there weren't that many to begin with. Who will be next? And come the end of this Parliament, will there by anyone other than David Cameron himself in receipt of the Conservative Whip?

Some people are talking about John Bercow. But he voted in favour of the Temporary and Agency Workers Bill. It really has come to something when the Labour Party is too right-wing for an old Federation of Conservative Students hand, an erstwhile Secretary of the Race and Repatriation Committee of the Monday Club. With a Labour Party like that, who needs the Tories?

Well, it needs the Tories. The Tory bogeyman does not in fact exist (only eleven of them, plus two tellers, turned up to vote against this Bill), but the fear of it is the only reason why anybody is still a Labour MP, a Labour activist, a Labour member, or a Labour voter.

Meanwhile, good luck to Cameron at the Spring Conference in Gateshead. Perhaps he can explain to anyone who turns up why opponents of European federalism, unrestricted immigration, abortion and corruption are no longer welcome in the Conservative Party?

Anonymous said...

I would think that the Conservative Party should launch an immediate enquiry as to what is happening in Essex.
To not do so is a dereliction of duty.
IIRC. Mr Spink had already faced 2 reselections and when they came after him a third time he appealed for CO help which was not forthcoming.
Doesn't really bode well for any other Tory MPs with Constituency Party problems.
Perhaps it IS about Mr. Spink and the fact he wouldn't support DC in his anti-UKIP stance.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with Iain Dale and other members of the Conservative Party is that they are not conservatives.

Any party that is prepared to give the sovereignty of his country away is not a conservative.

Anyone who is prepared to accept that the EU accounts have not been signed off by the auditors for 13 years is not a conservative.

Anyone who accepts that 83% of our laws can be made by a foreign body is not a conservative.

I could go on but the list is too long. UKIP is the fastest growing party in this country. Where are the most new members coming from? No need to guess there but they do have blue rosettes.

Dave Cameron: The Conservative Party Are Welcome to Him.