MPs win £40,000 libel pay-out from Ukip politician over Rotherham abuse claims


Two Rotherham Labour MPs have each won £40,000 in their libel action against a Ukip politician about remarks he made about the town's child sexual exploitation scandal .

Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley and John Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne, sued Caven Vines, who was Ukip's leader on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, over a live Sky News interview in January 2015.

Last year, Mr Justice Warby entered judgment against Mr Vines after concluding he had failed to put forward any defence which could possibly succeed.

At London's High Court on Wednesday, the judge said that the "offensive and wrong" allegation that the MPs knew for years most of what was going on by way of large-scale sexual abuse - and let it go on despite such knowledge - had caused them "real anger and distress".

He said that an appropriate award to vindicate their reputations and compensate them for the harm done was £40,000 each.

Mr Vines, who plans to appeal and says he is facing bankruptcy, was also ordered to pay £30,000 on account of costs which are estimated to be at least £70,000.

Lawyers for the MPs told the judge that the impact of what Mr Vines alleged in the run up to the General Election was extremely grave and could not have been more serious for elected politicians serving constituencies in Rotherham.

Sir Kevin said that he felt an anxiety and unease that he had not felt in other campaigns which made it very stressful.

His integrity had been called into question which was a very grave matter.

Mr Healey said that the allegation had been damaging to his relationship with his constituents and had taken the focus away from things that needed to be done.

He considered they had left a very dark stain on him and his integrity which might never fully be removed.

Mr Vines claimed that they had not suffered in any way and relied upon the fact that both were returned to Parliament with an increased majority.