Rotherham’s three Labour MPs have each won £54,000 High Court libel damages from UKIP MEP Jane Collins over remarks she made about the town’s child abuse scandal.
She has been ordered to pay £162,000 in damages to Rotherham’s three MP’s after her comments were adjudged to be libellous. She claimed in a 2014 conference speech that the MP’s 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, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, also faces a £196,000 costs bill after the long-running litigation came to an end at London’s High Court.
An interim payment of £120,000 costs plus the damages are to be paid within 21 days, said Mr Justice Warby on Monday.
Barry Sheerman, who chaired the Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee – now the Education Select Committee – between 2007 and 2010, said he felt “guilty” about the Rotherham abuse scandal.
The Labour MP for Huddersfield said MP’s were aware vulnerable children were being sexually exploited “up and down the country”. He said: “We knew about that, we didn’t do enough about it. Members of this House, many of us, knew what was going on.”
The Times reported disgraced former Rotherham MP Denis McShane as having said: “I, like so many MPs, preferred to keep silent on some of the dirty secrets about bad practices in the Kashmiri Muslim community”, a community that supplies “vast resevoirs” of votes at election time. He admitted his political leanings stopped him from addressing the problem.
A constituent asked whether John Healey, MP for the area since 1997 (also believed to be the year the abuses of the 1,400 girls in Rotherham began), would “call for an investigation of all parties at fault”, meaning local child protection agencies and police as well as the perpetrators. Healey replied” “I am not sure an inquiry would help the girls and their families, especially if it focuses solely on Rotherham and on Asian men grooming white girls”.
Sir Kevin Barron said at the time the scandal broke “The scale of this brutality and violence acted out on our young people in the Rotherham borough has shocked me.
“In the past 16 years I have only been approached by one family and their daughter who was an abused victim and asked for help. “I acted promptly and had meetings with the Rotherham police about the family’s concerns in relation to the apparent lack of investigation and conviction”.
(Only one case reported to him which is different to how many cases was he aware of?)
Sir Kevin added: “It now appears that this case was not a relatively rare one as I had thought and that the abuse by her attackers and subsequent failure of response by the very agencies whose role it was to protect her was a widespread situation and just the tip of the iceberg in terms of child sexual exploitation.”
“The issue of child sex abuse in Rotherham first came to light in November 2010 when five men from the town’s Asian community were jailed for sexual offences against underage girls.
But suspicions were already growing that the scale of the town’s problem was far more widespread”.
It has been suggested the 3 MP’s should donate their monetary awards to charities otherwise it will appear unethical they are profiting from the vile abuse of young children.
Which they claim they know nothing about.