A BY-ELECTION is being called for following MP Bob Spink's decision to join the UK Indepen-dence Party.

The Castle Point MP resigned from the Tories last month before announcing he would remain as an "independent Conservative."

But he has now joined the UK Independence Party and many feel Dr Spink should fight again for his seat under the UKIP banner.

Vera Partridge, chairman of the Castle Point Conservative Association, said she was not surprised by the announcement.

She said: "I hope he will be very happy with his new friends.

"I don't think it makes any difference - the opinion polls show the Conservative Party is where people want to be.

"Personally it has always been my opinion, right over the years, that people are elected, not just for themselves, but as a party.

"I think the honourable thing would be for him to step down and fight a by-election."

Julian Ware-Lane, Castle Point's Labour Parliamentary candidate, believes Dr Spink must fight a by-election, to ensure the people of Castle Point have the person they want representing them.

He said: "There's a good argument for a by-election.

"He was elected as a Conservative and I believe that most people vote on party lines and there are understandably going to be Conservative voters who feel aggrieved.

"The fact that he has moved to UKIP, when saying he would remain as a Conservative or independent, is something he will have to reconcile with his conscience."

But Mr Ware-Lane maintained the defection would not change the way he ran his campaign and said he was not shocked by Dr Spink's announcement.

"As far as I'm concerned this changes nothing," he said.

"I'm still fighting on the issues and defending the Government's record."

Richard Howitt, Labour Essex Euro MP, branded Dr Spink's decision as the Tory Party "revealing its true colours".

He said: "Mr Spink has done only what other Tory MPs are thinking - the disastrous and wrong-headed policy that Britain would be better off without Europe.

"If he fights Castle Point under UKIP colours, Labour will defeat him on the arguments."

But defiant Dr Spink refused to seek re-election in his new party colours, saying he remained loyal to every "jot and comma" of what he promised the last time he defended his seat.

He added: "I was elected as Bob Spink, that's the way our system works and recently there's no precedent for calling a by-election."

Spink: UKIP is my natural home

CASTLE Point MP Bob Spink says UKIP as the "natural home for principled Conservatives" - and he is excited about working as the party's first MP.

Mr Spink said: "I am delighted to join a strong UKIP team in which I will continue to fight for the primacy of our Parliament, our democracy and freedoms.

"I am pro, not anti-European, but 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.

"Renegotiating our relationship would be very much in both Britain's and Europe's longer term interests.

"UKIP is the natural home for principled Conservatives and people of all parties who value our freedom and democracy and distrust Westminster politicians."

Dr Spink has been welcomed locally to the party by Ron Hurrell, chairman of the South Essex branch of UKIP, who is standing for Boyce ward in the local elections.

Mr Hurrell, who lives in Hadleigh Park Avenue, Thun-dersley, said: "Bob Spink isn't the only Conservative MP to have misgivings about our relationship with Europe.

"He has shown the courage and integrity to put country before party."

"It's fitting this should happen so close to St George's day. Long live Great Britain."

Dr Spink is the first member of Parliament for UKIP.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was delighted to welcome Mr Spink as UKIP's first MP.

He added: "As Bob is a signatory to the Better Off Out' (of the European Union) campaign, joining UKIP was a logical step."