The remnants of the motley convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP have been heading for financial oblivion for some time now. But the process has accelerated of late, with the European Parliament stopping many of its MPs’ salaries in order to recoup money fiddled via expense payments, and the Kippers’ EP group losing around £500,000 in funding. And then came the Jane Collins court case.
Jane Collins MEP - dropped the Kippers in the mire
Ms Collins libelled three Labour MPs over the Rotherham grooming scandal. She faced a significantly sized bill for both costs and damages. Then it became clear that UKIP had made financial commitments to her in respect of meeting those costs. Judgment was handed down today by Mr Justice Warby at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Those representing UKIP were hopeful that they could somehow deflect the action against them, but all that they gained was the revelation that the Collins case could, and indeed would, have been settled with far less financial and reputational damage to all concerned, had the Kippers allowed it to be in early 2015. It was by their doing that the affair was dragged out beyond that year’s General Election.
Also not coming out of the whole affair well is UKIP’s legal whizz Matthew Richardson, another of those from the inner circle of the Young Britons’ Foundation, the “Conservative Madrasa” which is now effectively defunct following the Elliott Johnson saga and the associated revelations of bullying within Tory youth organisations.
The judgment notes that the claim was notified to Ms Collins within days of the speech in which she had made it, going on to tell “The claim was first discussed by UKIP’s NEC at its
monthly meeting on 13 October 2014, when the Party Secretary (Matthew Richardson) reported ‘We have someone suing Jane Collins for defamation - we are dealing with that currently’. He expressed the opinion: ‘I don’t see it going anywhere’. That proved wrong”.
But by a UKIP NEC meeting in February 2015, things had become more serious: “The minutes record that Matthew Richardson ‘outlined the situation’ to the Committee. Evidently, ‘the situation’ concerned the cost of settlement. According to the record, he said ‘It looks like £300,000 is the damages if she loses outright and then costs would be in excess of that. If we settle it will look closer to £60,000 it is looking like.”
UKIP did, however, not settle there and then. They decided to deliberately delay the matter until after that year’s General Election. The Judge asserted “In that period, the party took a deliberate, informed and calculated decision, for reasons of party political advantage, to ensure that the case was not settled before the General Election … In my judgment, it very probably did thereby prevent a settlement that it had been advised should be made and which would otherwise have occurred quite swiftly”. Now the big number is £670,000.
As a result, a limited costs order was made against UKIP “to reflect the impact on the action and its costs of the Party’s deliberate and calculated decision(s) of late February and early March 2015, to ensure for Party political and specifically electoral reasons that the claimants’ action should not be settled before the General Election”.
Put simply, the Kippers are now even deeper in the financial mire. Serves them right.