Jane Collins

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Jane Collins
MEP
Jane Collins MEP.jpg
UKIP Home Affairs and Justice Spokesperson
Assumed office
2 December 2016
Leader

Paul Nuttall

Henry Bolton
Preceded by Diane James
UKIP Employment Spokesperson
In office
24 July 2014 – 2 December 2016
Leader Nigel Farage
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Andrew Charalambous
Member of the European Parliament
for Yorkshire and the Humber
Assumed office
1 July 2014
Preceded by Godfrey Bloom
Personal details
Born (1962-02-17) 17 February 1962 (age 55)
Pontefract, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Political party UK Independence Party

Jane Maria Collins (born 17 February 1962) is a British politician, Member of the European Parliament for the Yorkshire and the Humber region for the UK Independence Party. She was elected in 2014. In February 2017, she was ordered by the High Court to pay libel costs after she falsely accused Labour MPs in Rotherham of knowing about child sexual exploitation in the town.

Education[edit]

Collins was educated in West Yorkshire, attending East Hardwick Junior School and Pontefract and District Girls High School, leaving at 18 with four GCE O-levels and a GCE A-level in Art.[1]

Career[edit]

On leaving school, Collins was appointed Head Girl at a racehorse training establishment in Moss, South Yorkshire. In 1985 her family moved to Selby and eventually bought a stable at Willitoft which she helped run. An equine physiotherapist, she met Katie Bloom with whom she formed a partnership in 1995.[1] Katie Bloom was (and remains) married to Godfrey Bloom, who later became a UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP,[2] and Collins became interested in the party.[1]

Political views[edit]

Interviewed by the Observer ahead of the September 2014 UKIP conference and therefore unable to discuss their new policies, Collins described herself as a "progressive libertarian". Referring to Godfrey Bloom's comments on international aid (made in his "Bongo-Bongo land" speech),[3] she said that they were valid but badly expressed. She was concerned about "a developing health problem" in Sheffield in relation to the Roma community of Slovak origin. She claimed they have a higher incidence of hepatitis B—the subject of a planned vaccination program—which would put a greater strain on the health service. She also called for those "indigenous" children who are in close contact with the Roma to be vaccinated as well.
In conclusion, journalist Daniel Boffey said Collins would continue Bloom's tradition of stirring controversy.[3]

Political career[edit]

Barnsley Central by-election, 2011[edit]

Collins stood for UKIP in the March 2011 Barnsley Central by-election triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Eric Illsley over the UK parliamentary expenses scandal. She came second to Labour's Dan Jarvis, winning 12% of the vote.[4][5]

Rotherham by-election, 2012[edit]

She again stood for UKIP in the November 2012 Rotherham by-election triggered by the resignation of Labour MP Denis MacShane, also over the expenses scandal. She came second to Labour's Sarah Champion, winning almost 22% of the vote, at that time UKIP's best result in a by-election.[6] During the by-election campaign a row emerged after Rotherham's Labour council removed three foster children from the care of their foster parents, which the Daily Telegraph wrongly attributed to their membership of UKIP.[7] However, in May 2013, Rotherham council apologised, saying that communication about the decision gave the impression that it related to the couple's UKIP membership.[8] This impression was incorrect; the children were removed because it was in their "best interests", though full details couldn't be given "for legal reasons".[8] The council said it had "taken action to strengthen the way it made decisions and how it communicated information."[8]

Yorkshire and the Humber (European Parliament constituency) 2014[edit]

She was selected to top the party's regional list for Yorkshire and the Humber in the 2014 European Parliament elections.[9] Former UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom stated that he gave her his "wholehearted support" and that she "is almost certainly going to be the next UKIP MEP".[10]

Row over her campaigning in South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner by-election[edit]

In November 2014, whilst campaigning for UKIP in the 2014 South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner by-election, Collins appeared to imply that Mark Russell, head of the evangelistic charity Church Army, was a paedophile. Russell had posted support for the Labour Party candidate in the by-election; this prompted Collins to tweet "Yes because we’d soon stop your criminal activity. Paedos leave our kids alone. #UKIP". Collins originally refused to apologise, but eventually deleted the tweet and offered to make a donation to the charity after Russell threatened to sue her. Her tweet followed accusations that UKIP exploited the suffering of Rotherham sex abuse victims for political gain in the by-election. One victim denounced the party’s tactics as "disrespectful" after it launched a "1,400 reasons to vote" campaign, in reference to the estimated number of victims in the city between 1997 and 2013.

Collins' allegation was retweeted many times by UKIP supporters. In her defence, Collins said she apologized unreservedly and admitted “I’m a bit hot headed sometimes.”[11][12]

Libel action[edit]

It was revealed in 2015 that three MPs, Sarah Champion, John Healey and Kevin Barron were suing Collins for libel and slander over comments made by Collins at a UKIP party conference that they knew about widespread child sex abuse in Rotherham.[13][14] Libel proceedings were commenced in 2016, but were placed on hold in May 2016 when Collins claimed her position as an MEP granted her immunity from prosecution. Under EU law "MEPs shall not be subject to any form of inquiry, detention or legal proceedings in respect of opinions expressed or votes cast by them in the performance of their duties".[15] However, in October the European Parliament ruled that immunity did not apply. Collins stated that she was investigating appealing the ruling.[16] Ms Collins said the ruling was "one lost battle in a war of words I'm determined to win". Ms Collins added she believed there were grounds for an appeal and was determined to fight the decision to make the "voices of Rotherham sexual exploitation survivors and their families heard". In a statement, the three MPs said "We welcome the decision of the European Parliament and hope this matter can at long last now be brought to a conclusion in the High Court. This has gone on for over two years and she has tried every delaying tactic she can - including the absurd irony of a UKIP Euro MP trying to claim immunity from the European Parliament to avoid facing justice in the British courts."[16] In February 2017, the High Court ruled that Collins should pay £54,000 in damages to each of the three MPs.[17]

UKIP leadership election 2017[edit]

Collins ran to be leader of UKIP following the resignation of Paul Nuttall (MEP) after the party's poor showing in a series of elections in 2017. Collins said she was standing in order to 'rebuild confidence in UKIP' and cited her two by election campaigns and her success in the European Elections and her work for Godfrey Bloom as proof of her experience and track record of success for the party.

In an article in the Telegraph[18] she said she was "offering a real alternative to the other options of EDL-lite or diet Labour." She also stated that she was a progressive libertarian who wanted the party to support low taxes and a small state and welcomed the news that former economics spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said his and Suzanne Evans's economic policies had been rejected in the party.

She had also criticised fellow candidate Anne Marie Waters for launching her leadership campaign in Rotherham. In a joint statement, UKIP MEP Jane Collins and councillor Allen Cowles, leader of UKIP's Rotherham branch, said they supported the decision to cancel the planned stadium rally and urged the party's councillors to boycott Waters' campaign launch. Mr Cowles said: "UKIP councillors wish to make it clear that they do not condone in any way the views Ms Waters has previously expressed, or what she stands for."[19]

Collins finished the election in last place out of the field of six candidates, garnering 4.4% of the vote.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "UKIP Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEP's". UKIP Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire. Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Wainwright, Martin (22 July 2004). "Godfrey's bloomer leaves village aghast". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-08-07. 
  3. ^ a b Daniel Boffey (10 August 2014). "Rising Ukip star on Roma in the UK, vaccines and racist gardeners". The Observer. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Lib Dems slump to sixth as Labour win Barnsley poll". BBC News. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Barnsley by-election: Labour win, Lib Dems sixth". Channel 4. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "By-elections: Labour retains three seats". BBC News. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Ford Rojas, John-Paul (30 November 2012). "Ukip takes second place in by-elections". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "Rotherham Council apologises over UKIP foster row". BBC News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "UKIP announces regional Euro election candidates". ITV. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Godfrey Bloom Quits As UKIP MEP". Sky News. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Martin Williams (1 November 2014). "Ukip MEP apologises for apparently calling charity boss a paedophile". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Rose Troup Buchanan (1 November 2014). "Ukip MEP forced to apologise after appearing to call the head of Christian charity a paedophile". The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Frances Perraudin (13 January 2015). "Labour trio sue Ukip MEP over Rotherham child sex claims". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Rotherham's three Labour MPs to sue UKIP MEP for slander". BBC. 12 January 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ukip MEP Jane Collins invokes her European Parliament 'legal immunity' in British court". The Independent. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "UKIP MEP to face prosecution over Rotherham remarks". BBC News. 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016. 
  17. ^ "Jane Collins libel case: Three Labour Rotherham MPs awarded £54,000". BBC News. BBC. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "Ukip will die away if it decides to ape the EDL or Labour — I can save it". 
  19. ^ Wheeler, Brian (30 June 2017). "Anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters launches UKIP bid" – via www.bbc.co.uk. 

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