Euro MP who made false allegations against three South Yorkshire politicians set to pay libel damages

MEP Jane Collins.
MEP Jane Collins.
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An MEP accused of libelling three South Yorkshire MPs is set to find out today how much she owes them in damages - which could total hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Jane Collins, UK Independence Party Euro MP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, falsely claimed that MPs John Healey, Sir Kevin Barron and Sarah Champion knew about child grooming gangs but allowed it to continue.

She made the allegations during a speech at Ukip’s conference, held in Doncaster in 2014 - just a month after a report revealed about 1,400 children in Rotherham had been abused between 1997 and 2013.

The three Rotherham MPs sued for libel and slander. Lawyers for Ms Collins argued it was a political speech which did not contain any allegation of fact but expressed an opinion that the MPs were likely to have known sexual exploitation was a serious problem in the area.

In 2015 the High Court ruled in the three MP's favour that Ms Collins had suggested the untrue allegations as fact.

The libel case was halted last year after the MEP applied for immunity from prosecution but this was thrown out by the European Parliament, paving the way for the damages payout.

The amount of compensation - which the MPs say should be around £150,000 each - could not be agreed so the case came back to court.

A High Court judge is due to make a ruling on the amount due to be paid out this afternoon.