Sheffield & South Yorkshire

UKIP MEP fails in bid to avoid damages over Rotherham remarks

Jane Collins MEP Image copyright PA
Image caption Jane Collins applied for immunity to the European Parliament but they refused to grant it

A UKIP MEP will be sued for libel over remarks she made about the Rotherham abuse scandal after her attempt to get immunity from prosecution failed.

Jane Collins, who represents Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, claimed three MPs knew about child exploitation in the town but did nothing to intervene.

The MPs in question - Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion - sued for slander and libel.

The European Parliament ruled there were no grounds for granting immunity.

Sir Kevin, MP for Rother Valley, Mr Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne, and Ms Champion, MP for Rotherham, complained about a speech given by Mrs Collins at a UKIP conference in September 2014.

Live updates on this story and others in South Yorkshire

Image copyright PA
Image caption The three Rotherham MPs - Sir Kevin Barron, Sarah Champion and John Healey - want compensation of £150,000 each

It came a month after a report found about 1,400 children in the area had been abused between 1997 and 2013.

The libel case was halted in May after the MEP applied for immunity from prosecution.

Now it has been refused it is expected she will be ordered to pay what are expected to be substantial damages by the British High Court.

Ms Collins said the ruling was "one lost battle in a war of words I'm determined to win".

"There may be grounds to challenge the EU itself for failing to uphold its treaty obligations to member states", she said.

Ms Collins added she believed there were grounds for an appeal and was determined to fight the decision to make the "voices of Rotherham sexual exploitation survivors and their families heard".

In a joint statement, the MPs 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 she 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."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites