MEP to oppose ruling she pay damages to Rotherham’s MPs

UKIP MEP Jane Collins is expected to launch an appeal against a High Court ruling demanding she pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in libel damages to Rotherham’s three MPs.
Jane CollinsJane Collins
Jane Collins

Ms Collins was ordered to pay Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion £54,000 each after remarks she made about Rotherham’s child abuse scandal were adjudged to be libellous.

She claimed in a 2014 conference speech that the MPs knew about child exploitation in the town but did nothing to intervene and failed in a court bid to prove she was entitled to MEPs’ immunity.

Ms Collins also faces a legal costs bill of around £196,000 together with the £162,000 damages, making a total bill of £358,000.

At the hearing on February 6, she was ordered to pay the £162,000 and £120,000 of the costs — a total of £282,000 within 21 days.

But a spokesman for Ms Collins said none of the damages had been paid and the deadline for her to launch an appeal was not until March 6. He added she planned to appeal the decision before that date.

Ms Champion, Mr Healey and Sir Kevin pledged to donate any money they receive to charity.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms Champion said: “If we do get the money it will be fabulous to give some of it to children’s charities, in particular those that work with survivors of abuse, but the likelihood that we ever get a penny is very small.”