FORMER Castle Point MP Bob Spink has dropped his appeal against his conviction for electoral fraud.

Spink was spared jail during a sentencing hearing at Basildon Crown Court in January of this year after he received a six-month jail term, suspended for two years.

The 69-year-old, of Downer Road, Benfleet, was convicted of four counts of submitting false signatures on nominations forms after a trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Four days after his sentencing hearing, Mr Spink submitted an appeal against his conviction but the Court of Appeal has confirmed this has now been abandoned.

In a statement Mr Spink claimed: “I am totally innocent, but the case was lost when the Crown Prosecution Service transferred it to Southwark Court in strongly anti-Brexit south London. Almost three years after the event I have still not been given a date for my appeal.

“So, with high and rising costs, and given the questionable nature of the alleged offence, I let the appeal lapse.

“I don’t want to waste another year of my life fighting this miscarriage of justice.”

Spink was the Tory MP for Castle Point between 1992 and 1997, and won the seat again at the 2001 election.

He defected to Ukip in 2008, becoming the party’s first MP, but left later that year. He lost his seat in 2010 to Tory Rebecca Harris but later rejoined Ukip.

He appeared in court earlier this year with his election agent James Parkin, who received the same sentence.

Parkin, 39, of Castle View Road, Canvey, was convicted of two counts of the same offence, was acquitted of three and admitted to forging two signatures on two different nomination forms.

During the trial, jurors heard Spink tricked “elderly and infirm” voters into signing the forms in April 2016, without making it clear what the documents were or which party he represented.

Piers Wauchope, defending Spink, told the court his client relied on various pensions, including his parliamentary and military pensions, for his income of about £30,000 a year. He went on to say Spink had not been sleeping well, and his reputation after spending years in public service had been ruined. He added: “He says that he has been devastated by this.” During sentencing Judge Ian Graham had said: “This sort of offending undermines the working of democratic structures in this country.”