No Follow-Up Then, Bob?

LAST WEEK it appeared that Bob Spink, our local MP, was championing the cause of returning veterans for social housing priority and attacking the local Borough Council for failing a local resident.

Bob, it appeared, had been so incensed that, rather than taking the alleged complaint to the Council and intervening on the resident’s behalf, was determined to raise his concerns in Parliament.

Readers will remember how he publicised his question to the Secretary of State on 11 January; but, for some reason, failed to provide specific details on his claims, which were robustly denied by Castle Point Borough Council.

Well, two days later, on 13th January, Bob was still trying to make headlines from the matter. This time he wormed his way into the Scotland debate in order to cast his sprat.

Bob Spink asked the Scottish Secretary of State: what recent discussions he had had with the Secretary of State for Defence on the morale of members of the armed forces based in Scotland returning from active service.

In reply, Jim Murphy said: ‘Good morning, Mr. Speaker. The men and women of our armed forces are remarkable people and I have regular conversations with ministerial colleagues about support for our armed forces and their families.’

‘I thank the Secretary of State for that response, with which I totally agree, and for his good work in Scotland. Does he agree that people in Scotland want to see our returning heroes-and particularly those with families-treated with dignity? That means that they should be given priority in housing and should not be made homeless, which is what happens at the moment in Castle Point,’ Bob asked, eliciting the following mackerel:-

‘I agree with the sentiment behind the hon. Gentleman’s question. Although I do not know the details, I am sure that he understands that when it comes to situations such as that in Castle Point, whether they arise north or south of the border, we need to handle our returning heroes with great care and sensitivity, including when it comes to issues relating to housing. Local connections to local areas should be properly taken into account, and if that is not happening in Castle Point, I think that most of the hon. Gentleman’s constituents would consider that to be shabby.’

No question. Were Spink’s accusations true, it would indeed be ‘shabby.’

But how shabby is it of a politician to parade unsubstantiated allegations in the house in an effort to create personal headlines at the expense of an alleged veteran’s misfortune? And a misfortune which has yet to be proved.

Were Spink not making these allegations in the house, where he is cloaked in Parliamentary Privilege and immune to a charge of slander, he would be forced to ‘put-up or shut-up.’ He would be forced to come clean over the facts and provide full details of his allegations.

Is this why he has chosen not to contact the Council’s housing department and go to bat on the resident’s behalf? Is this the reason why he has chosen, for once, not to release details to the press?

This story has been simmering for the past nine days, and it seems that, if there is such a veteran, Spink has done nothing to alleviate his problems. Indeed, rather than pursuing his thread of alleged Council incompetence, Bob now appears to have dropped the matter. His latest press release says this:-

Bob Spink MP called to protect our children from sunbeds when he met with Cancer Research UK representatives on Wednesday, January 13th in Parliament.

Bob discussed how children raise their risk of skin cancer in later life by using sunbeds – recently upgraded to a top class carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Cancer Research UK’s recently commissioned survey found that in Liverpool and Sunderland half of all 15-17 year old girls have used sunbeds. Even more shocking is that more than a quarter of a million children aged 11-17 in the UK have used sunbeds.

Bob is supporting a new Private Member’s Bill to ensure that children are no longer able to put their health at risk in this way.

Bob said: “I was very shocked to hear how dangerous sunbeds can be to children’s health – and how many under 18s seem to be using them. We must act to prevent young people having access to sunbeds. And I will be giving my full support to this Bill.

“Cancer Research UK found that 87 per cent of the public want a law to stop under 18s using sunbeds and 90 per cent support sunbed salons being staffed.”

Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “In Scotland under 18s are now banned from using sunbeds. But this is not the case in England and Wales. Cancer Research UK is deeply concerned about how easy it is for a very large number of youngsters, particularly girls, to use sunbeds and there is strong evidence linking sunbed use with skin cancer .

“In the UK the number of people diagnosed with skin cancer is rising faster than any other cancer. And we believe that getting a law passed in Parliament to protect young people and teenagers from the dangers of sunbeds is crucial to help buck this worrying trend.”

According to Cancer Research UK using sunbeds for the first time under the age of 35 increases the risk of the most dangerous form of skin cancer by 75 per cent.

Are we to believe what Spink tells us? Or are we just to put his statements down to what we know is his extensive imagination?

Put-up or shut-up, Bob…

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One Response

  1. “Extensive imagination” is the nicest way of putting it Ted.

    The man ignores his expenses issue where he claimed both statements and invoices for unpaid bills and yet his CV shows this entry:

    1976 C. Dip. A. F. Association of Certified Accountants

    And then there is his claim to being an RAF “veteran” and having the gaul to take part in Canvey’s Veterans parade last year.

    According to his CV he never left the safe confines of RAF Cosford’s basic training establishment from where he was being trained and was subsequently invalided out.

    I partiularly like his claim to being a director of Bournemouth International Airport yet failing to mention this was only achieved by being a Bournemouth councillor!

    Has anyone tried getting behind this:

    97-01 Director and Management Consultant, Harold Whitehead and Partners

    The firm appears an absolute mystery……………………

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