Three South Yorkshire MPs handed £54, 000 each in libel damages

MEP Jane Collins.
MEP Jane Collins.
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Three Rotherham Labour MPs have each been awarded £54, 000 in High Court libel damages after a Ukip politician made remarks linking them to the town's child abuse scandal.

Jane Collins, UK Independence Party Euro MP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, made allegations against MPs John Healey, Sir Kevin Barron and Sarah Champion during Ukip's party conference in Doncaster in 2014. The three MPs then sued for libel and slander and a judge today found in their favour.

Assessing the compensation at London's High Court, Mr Justice Mark Warby said Ms Collins had alleged that the three politicians knew many of the details of the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham yet deliberately chose not to intervene.

The court was told she had also expressed the opinion that they acted out of political correctness, political cowardice or political selfishness and were guilty of misconduct so grave that it was or should be criminal, as it aided the perpetrators.

She made the false allegations just a month after a report revealed about 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Ms Collins had argued that it was a political speech which did not contain any allegation of fact, but expressed an opinion to the effect that the MPs were likely to have known that sexual exploitation was a serious problem in the area.

She made an offer of amends which was accepted, but the amount of compensation could not be agreed so had to come back to court.

The case is set to continue to decide costs and other matters.