Member of European Parliament loses libel case

A trio of MPs have won significant damages following a successful defamation case launched following comments about their handling of the child abuse scandal in Rotherham.

UKIP MEP Jane Collins had given a speech to her party’s conference, during which she alleged that Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion had known about the offences and nonetheless failed to step in.

The three MPs had launched libel and slander claims in response to the remarks in 2014, and this month each was awarded £54,000 by the High Court.

Aside from the £162,000 in damages, Ms Collins is facing costs of £196,000.

She had tried to argue that her speech did not contain any allegation of fact. Throughout the court action, she had failed to withdraw her remarks or apologise and had sought to delay proceedings – having at one stage made a bid for immunity.

Mr Justice Warby said that all three MPs had found the experience “genuinely and significantly distressing.”

“They felt that their careers were at stake, and that their integrity was under serious attack,” said the Judge.

For advice on any aspect of defamation laws please contact Seamus Smyth or visit.