The MEP who is facing civil action from three Labour MPs after her passionate speech on stopping child grooming offended them is reported to have seen a huge surge in support from local residents.
UKIP MEP Jane Collins, who represents Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire in the European Parliament, is the party’s official candidate for Rotherham Central in May’s General Election and previously contested the by election in 2012, coming a strong second.
In September, she addressed the UKIP conference in Doncaster as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rotherham Central and referred to the systematic abuse of about 1,400 white girls, mainly by Muslim men.
But now, the three Labour MPs who represent Rochester constituencies have demanded £300,000 from her after she said any politicians or officials who knew about the child grooming in Rotherham should face criminal charges.
Mrs Collins told delegates, “Nearly every agency in Rotherham had grossly failed to protect it’s children.
“White girls had been targeted and abused by men of Asian origin with little or no intervention from the town’s authorities,” she said.
And the MEP who was provided details of the report by Professor Jay said: “Nearly every agency in Rotherham had grossly failed its duty to protect those children and this is despite the pleas from the victims and – please note – the front line workers who met a brick wall.
“The report listed a catalogue of political, policing and procedural failures in Rotherham that lead to the police almost trying to disprove the victim’s claims. It detailed how fathers who had tried to protect their children had actually been arrested for doing so,” she told delegates.
But it was the mention of the Labour council and the MPs in the area that caused gasps in the press gallery and fury in the party echelons.
“It [the report] also explained that the Labour run council and its officials have actually been given three separate reports on this over a period of time but in 2005 had been sat down and given graphic details of what this abuse had actually been about…and still there was no real positive action.
“The report reiterated throughout that warning after warning was ignored and much of this was due to political cowardice and worried about keeping their vote.
“There are many others who still have questions to answer, and possibly charges to face. This includes the three Labour MPs for the Rotherham area. I am convinced that they knew many of the details of what was happening. I am now calling for criminal charges to be brought against those who it can be proved knew about the abuse, how failed to act – because in failing to act they aided and abetted the perpetrators and they are just as guilty.”
While the response from the MPs has been to sue Mrs Collins, a local UKIP branch member in Rotherham said that the reaction from the people in the town had been incredibly supportive for the MEP.
“There have been people coming into the UKIP shop which is now open, offering support and information on the child abuse scandal for Jane and saying they are going to vote for her,” they said.
“And a huge number say that they are now embarrassed of Rotherham because of what happened and how it was handled.”
The source also added: “If they really didn’t know anything about it they must be the only three people in Rotherham who didn’t.”
In a joint statement, Ms Champion, Mr Healey and Mr Barron said: “It is sickening that UKIP could use such an important issue for party political point scoring, and we will challenge these defamatory accusations through every means available to prove they are untrue and to stop UKIP exploiting the terrible abuse for their own political gain.”
There will be an initial hearing in April to debate the meaning of the words used by Mrs Collins.