Ukip face going bust after being ordered to pay £175,000 in two weeks after libel case
Ukip has been dealt a fresh blow after it was ordered to pay £175,000 in just 14 days in legal costs to three Labour MPs after a bitter court battle.
Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion took Ukip MEP Jane Collins to court after she falsely claimed in 2014 that they covered up cases of child sex abuse in Rotheram.
She was ordered to pay £280,000 in damages and costs – while Ukip itself was left waiting to find out its share of the bill for refusing to settle the case before the 2015 general election.
Today Justice Warby ruled that Ukip would have to pay £175,000 in the next two weeks – a tall order for the party which is on the brink of financial ruin.
In a joint statement, the three Labour MPs said: “Ukip’s actions behind the scenes forced the costs of this case to soar and compounded the damage from Jane Collins’ unfounded and hurtful allegations.
“This deliberate strategy hugely increased the legal costs and it is right that Ukip are today held liable for a large share of these costs.
“Ukip used the unfounded allegations by Jane Collins for political advantage."
They added: “At the highest level Ukip knew Jane Collins’ case was ‘hopeless’ but blocked any settlement in our favour before the 2015 General Election because they believed it would win them votes.”
It follows a highly turbulent time for Ukip, which is facing its fourth leadership election in 18 months after members dumped Henry Bolton as their boss.
Ukip failed to respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.