Crime commissioner candidate wrongly claims he was a former police minister

Bob Spink. UKIP's Police and Crime Commissioner candidate in Essex

Bob Spink. UKIP's Police and Crime Commissioner candidate in Essex - Credit: Archant

The UK Independent Party candidate for next month’s police and crime commissioner elections has been forced to change his website after wrongly claimed to be a minister for policing.

Bob Spink, a former MP for Castle Point, was accused of creating a “fantasy political record” after claiming that he had resigned as a junior government police minister in 2008.

He was in fact a parliamentary private secretary in the home office - a job which involves assisting a minister, and being their eyes and ears in the House of Commons.

Braintree MP James Cleverly raised the issue in the House of Commons asking Speaker John Bercow if there was a “remedy or sanction” for a former MP who “inaccurately or deceivingly” described himself as a former minister.

Mr Bercow confirmed that Dr Spink “certainly was not a government minister”, adding: “If someone has wrongly claimed to be a ​government minister, that is curious.”

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Dr Spink said he had corrected the record, and would avoid what he claimed was a “shorthand” title in future.

“But it’s the job not the job title that matters. I learnt much about managing police forces while a Home Office parliamentary private secretary (PPS) and hope this, along with my other extensive police and Westminster experience, would help me to be a better police commissioner for Essex.”

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“Political semantics can easily trip people up and there’s some confusion over the job title which is sometimes referred to in shorthand as a junior minister. They are sometimes said to be government ministers “on the cheap”.

“When I resigned as a government PPS after four years, to take through a new anti-social behaviour law, the Daily Telegraph headline was ‘Minister quits to steer Bill’.”

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