Three Labour MPs in Rotherham given £54,000 EACH in libel payout by Ukip MEP who claimed they knew about child abuse and did nothing

THREE Labour MPs have won a libel case against a Ukip MEP who accused them of knowing about the child abuse scandal in Rotherham and doing nothing about it.

Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion sued Jane Collins over her comments at Ukip's party conference in September 2014 – and have won £54,000 in damages each.

London's High Court heard how Ms Collins, who represents Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in the European Parliament, had tried to have the case delayed repeatedly.

She asked the European Parliament for immunity when the MPs launched legal action against her – but this was denied.

Gavin Millar QC said that the allegations had been the "talk of the tearoom" in Parliament in the run-up to the 2015 general election, and caused "extreme distress" to the MPs who had faced "hostile social media" responses.

In a joint press release, the three MPs said today that Ms Collins had repeatedly tried to "evade justice" and now she had "run out of places to hide".

They said: "Today the judge said in no uncertain terms that her behaviour since proceedings began has been unreasonable and offensive.

"Ms Collins could have admitted her mistake, withdrawn her remarks and apologised to us. Instead, she tried every trick in the book, including the absurd irony of trying, and failing, to seek immunity by hiding behind the EU institutions she is so keen for us to leave behind.

"In this era of so-called ‘post truth politics’, today’s judgement serves as an important reminder that facts matter.

"Victims of vile crimes should never be treated as political pawns by opportunists trying to make electoral gains from their plight. Jane Collins’ lies have been allowed to run for too long but today the Judge has ruled comprehensively against her."




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Ms Collins also said the three had acted out of political correctness and were guilty of misconduct.

She had argued in court that her comments were intended as a "political speech" rather than statements of fact.

1,400 children in Rotherham were found to have been abused between 1997 and 2013, a report claimed in 2014.

Ms Collins refused to withdraw her comments and has not apologised, the court heard.

Today Mr Justice Warby awarded all legal costs – totalling £162,000 in damages and £120,000 on account of £196,000 in costs  – against Jane Collins MEP to be paid within 21 days.

He awarded the three MPs £54,000 each in damages.

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