AN ANTI-EUROPE MEP will be sued for libel over remarks made about Rotherham’s child sex abuse scandal after losing her attempt to get immunity from prosecution.
John Healey, Kevin Barron and Sarah Champion are suing UKIP politician Jane Collins over her comments about their knowledge of CSE in Rotherham.
Ms Collins claimed that the three Labour MPs knew about grooming gangs but deliberately ignored them out of political correctness.
She asked the European Parliament for immunity when the MPs launched High Court legal action against her.
But on Tuesday the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs approved a report which found “no ground for defending Ms Collins’ immunity”.
Ms Collins claimed a right to protection as attending court in Britain was restricting her freedom to work in Europe.
But the committee found there was an exception to MEPs’ right of freedom to travel where they faced legal action at home.
The MEP also claimed that opinions she expressed as a European politician were immune from libel lawsuits.
But the committee found that was not the case, as Ms Collins had made the comments at a UKIP party conference.
The report said her words did “not relate to her activity as [an MEP] or to the policies of the European Union and were made in the context of national political debate”.
High Court judge Mr Justice Warby also found in May that Ms Collins had intended her words as facts, not opinions, when she said the three MPs “are likely to have known that sexual exploitation was a serious problem”.
In a joint statement Mr Healey, Mr Barron and Ms Champion said: “We welcome the decision of the European Parliament and hope this matter can at long last now be brought to a conclusion in the High Court.
“This has gone on for over two years and [Ms Collins] has tried every delaying tactic she can — including the absurd irony of a UKIP Euro MP trying to claim immunity from the European Parliament to avoid facing justice in the British courts.”
Committee members voted 16-3 for approving the report — their decision will now be sent back to Mr Justice Warby.
The Advertiser contact Ms Collins’ office for comment but did not receive a response.