Rotherham Labour MPs to sue UKIP rivals over child sexual exploitation scandal comments

Jane Collins, UKIP MEP
Jane Collins, UKIP MEP
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Three Labour MPs are to sue UKIP MEP Jane Collins after she made comments about the extent of their knowledge of Rotherham’s child sexual exploitation scandal.

Sarah Champion, John Healey and Kevin Barron are suing Mrs Collins, who represents Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in the European Parliament, for libel and slander.

A statement on behalf of the three MPs said the legal action was being taken in relation to comments made by Ms Collins at the UKIP party conference in Doncaster in September.

Her comments came shortly after the Jay report found at least 1,600 children in Rotherham had been abused over a 16-year-period, with serious failings by the police and Labour-controlled Rotherham Council to protect victims and stop abuse.

Libel action is now also being taken by Mr Barron and Mr Healey against Rotherham Council’s UKIP group leader Caven Vines after he repeated similar accusations about the two MPs in an interview with Sky News broadcast on Monday January 5.

In a joint statement, Sarah Champion MP, John Healey MP and Kevin Barron MP said: “It is sickening that UKIP could use such an important issue for party-political point-scoring, and we will challenge these defamatory accusations through every means available to prove they are untrue and to stop UKIP exploiting the terrible abuse for their own political gain.”

In August, it was announced Mrs Collins would fight the Rotherham Central seat at the General Election after coming second to Ms Champion in a by-election in 2012.