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#Ukip faces Financial Ruin from #Jane_Collins_MEP’s Defamation Costs …

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 01/02/2018

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#Ukip faces Financial Ruin from #Jane_Collins_MEP’s Defamation Costs …

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Greg Lance – Watkins



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Ukip faces financial ruin from MEP’s defamation costs

Jane Collins, a Ukip MEP, was successfully sued by three Labour MPs she accused of ignoring child sex abuse

Jane Collins, a Ukip MEP, was successfully sued by three Labour MPs she accused of ignoring child sex abuse       RICHARD STONEHOUSE/GETTY IMAGES

Ukip is facing demands that it pay the £670,000 costs of a defamation case against one of its MEPs, which could push the party into bankruptcy.

Money is tight for the anti-EU party, according to insiders, after a tumultuous 18 months during which it has had four leaders and been deserted by many donors and hordes of members.

Next week the party is due in court, where it will challenge demands that it pay the costs for a slander and libel case brought against one of its senior politicians.

Jane Collins, 55, Ukip MEP for the Yorkshire & Humber region, was successfully sued by three Labour MPs whom she had accused in 2014 of ignoring child sex abuse.

She alleged in a speech at a Ukip conference that Sarah Champion, Sir Kevin Barron and John Healey, who all represent seats in South Yorkshire, had known of the exploitation and had chosen to do nothing. The remark was made after a report found that about 1,400 children in the area were abused between 1997 and 2013.


After the High Court case last February, Ms Collins was ordered to pay a total of £162,000 damages to the MPs and £120,000 towards the £196,000 legal bill within 21 days, but failed to do so. A spokeswoman for Ms Collins said last year that she could face bankruptcy proceedings if it was found that she could not make the payments she owed.

The costs have risen to £669,605 and Gerald Shamash, the solicitor representing the three MPs, said he would be doing all he can to recover the costs from Ukip. He warned that he would seek the assets, including the intellectual property, of Ukip, a limited company, if it was ordered to pay the costs and failed to do so.

Mr Healey said: “The scale of the costs is directly a result of Jane Collins’s decision not to admit she was wrong, and to fight and lose at every stage.”

Ukip insiders are fearful that the party will face bankruptcy if it is forced to pay all or part of the costs when the matter comes before a judge next week.

Adam Richardson, the party secretary, released a statement making clear Ukip’s intention to challenge any attempt to find the party liable for the costs. He said: “Ukip has been added as a party to the Jane Collins defamation case as to costs only. This is because Ukip financially assisted Ms Collins MEP with her defamation case out of a moral obligation.

“This made Ukip a ‘pure funder’ and as such Ukip should not be found liable for any costs incurred as a result of Jane Collins’s case, regardless of the amount.”

The Labour MPs’ lawyers are expected to argue that Ukip had a degree of control over the litigation.

In its latest annual accounts, for the year to December 2016, Ukip listed assets of £223,350 and liabilities of £603,980. It noted a “concerning drop in the amount being donated to the party” but insisted that the party “maintained a stable cash position” at that time.

Last year the party raised £451,055 in donations and was given £450,000 in loans, which remain outstanding. It is unclear how much the party spent during the year.

A member of Ukip’s national executive committee said: “Money is tight. We don’t have access to millions and we have to cut our cloth accordingly.”

Ms Collins could not be reached for comment.

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