Robert Michael Spink (born 1 August 1948, Haworth, Worth Valley, Yorkshire) is a politician in the United Kingdom who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Castle Point in Essex for two periods between 1992 and 2010.
Spink was elected as the Conservative Party MP for Castle Point in 1992, lost his seat in 1997, but regained it in 2001. Having resigned the Conservative whip in March 2008, in April 2008 he defected to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), becoming that party's first MP. In November 2008 he was redesignated as an Independent, on the grounds that UKIP had no 'whip'. Spink lost his seat in the 2010 election to the Conservative candidate, Rebecca Harris.
He subsequently rejoined UKIP and in 2017 was charged with electoral fraud.
He was educated at Holycroft Secondary Modern School (now a primary school) on Victoria Road in Keighley and Southall Technical College. At the University of Manchester, he gained an BSc Hons (1st) in 1972. At Cranfield University, he gained an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Administration in 1975 and PhD in Economics and Management in 1988.
He joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1964, and until 1966 did his Basic Training at RAF Cosford and RAF Uxbridge, being invalided. He was an engineer for EMI Electronics Ltd from 1966-77 in Hayes and gained an Ordinary National Certificate (ONC) from Southall Technical College in 1969 when on day-release, then became an Industrial Management Consultant in 1977 for Harold Whitehead and Partners. From 1980-4, he was Director of Seafarer Navigation International Ltd (eventually bought by Standard Communications) in Bournemouth, and from 1989–93, he was a non-executive Director of Bournemouth International Airport. From 1984-93, he was a Management Consultant. From 1997 to 2001, he worked for Harold Whitehead in Windsor. He was a county councillor in Dorset from 1985-92.
In April 2005, ahead of the general election Spink took out an anti-immigration advert in the local Yellow Advertiser newspaper reading "What bit of 'send them back' don't you understand Mr Blair?" His rival for the constituency, the Labour candidate Luke Akehurst, said: "This advertisement contains appalling comments that whip up racial tension and fear to win votes. It is reminiscent of the worse utterances of Enoch Powell. The Tory leadership should disown it." Spink won the election, increasing his share of the vote by 3.7% compared to a 3.1% Labour to Conservative swing nationally.
On 12 March 2008, Spink announced to the UK House of Commons that he had resigned the Conservative Party Whip due to "criminal and other irregularities" in his constituency.
On 21 April 2008, Bob Spink became the first member of Parliament for the United Kingdom Independence Party, saying that "positive and sensible co-operation with the EU does not require us to sell the British people down the river or to give our independence away". He later found himself at odds with his new-found colleagues over the issue of whether or not to extend the amount of time a suspect can be detained without charge from 28 to 42 days. He voted for the bill, but UKIP opposed it.
Following the arrest of Shadow Immigration Minister, Damian Green, and the searching of Green's House of Commons office on suspicion of "procuring misconduct in public office" for passing leaked Government documents to journalists, the House of Commons debated whether it was right that the police should be given access to an MP's office and to remove his computers and constituency correspondence. Spink voted with the Government, and against the position set out by the UKIP leadership, on both the Government's motion and an amendment tabled by backbench MPs. The amendment, which would have meant that the committee looking into whether correct procedures had been followed, was defeated by 4 votes.
In 2009 he tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) to ban the British Humanist Association atheist bus campaign posters from appearing on public transport. The EDM attracted 12 signatures.
He is opposed to abortion and supports reintroduction of capital punishment. He is against research into animal chimeras and refers to those involved in or supporting human bioengineering as "dark forces".
In March 2010, Spink confirmed he was encouraging candidates to stand in local elections under the label "Independent Save Our Green Belt". At the 2010 General Election he stood as an Independent, but made it clear that he was supporting UKIP. UKIP aided his election campaign and he gained 27% of the vote, but lost Castle Point to the Conservative Rebecca Harris. In 2014, he rejoined UKIP.
He married Janet Barham; they have three sons and a daughter. They have since divorced.