One unfortunate by-product of Rotherham Labour MPs’ successful libel case against UKIP’s Yorkshire MEP Jane Collins is that some members of our party are now less willing to tackle the national grooming gang scandal – the sexual exploitation and abuse of mainly young white English girls by mostly older Pakistani-heritage Muslim men.

Mind you, there always were senior party members who insisted that UKIP should not touch the issue. When I started investigating grooming gang activities in Hartlepool and Teesside,  I was informed that UKIP’s former General Secretary and North East MEP Jonathan Arnott would not engage with the problem because it would be ‘anti-Muslim’ or ‘racist’ to do so.

This is the same sickening politically-correct excuse that the old parties and local authorities use. It has allowed the abuse of thousands of young girls – over 1,400 in Rotherham alone. And it was revealed just last week that men from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and other Muslim backgrounds have openly abused “with arrogant persistence” over 700 girls in Mr Arnott’s own constituency of North East England.

It’s a total disappointment that UKIP’s elected representative for the area decided to pass by on the other side over this problem. We can be pleased he’s now left the party.

But Jane Collins is made of sterner stuff and was absolutely right to expose Labour’s culpability in the Rotherham scandal. Whistle-blower Jayne Senior’s book Broken and Betrayed’, amongst others, provides clear evidence that the Labour-run local authority not only looked the other way but also was responsible for covering up the abuse.

The problem is that Jane Collins chose the wrong Labour target. Instead of attacking the local authority she instead cited the three Rotherham Labour MPs one of whom, Sarah Champion, has in fact campaigned hard since her election in 2012 to protect the girls and expose the scandal. Ms Champion was even sacked from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench for publicly identifying the rapists as Pakistani men and the victims as white girls. It is, therefore, no surprise that Jane Collins lost the libel case.

But the issue remains and girls are still being abused, and the evidence is that this phenomenon has occurred particularly in Labour fiefdoms like Rochdale, Oldham, Bradford, Blackburn, Derby, Leicester, Oxford, Newcastle – and of course Rotherham.

The destructive effect of Labour’s PC attitudes is horribly illustrated by the devastation caused to the lives of over 1,400 young girls in Rotherham. This is what the government’s independent Casey Review says (p160):

“The case of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham was a catastrophic example of authorities turning a blind eye to harm in order to avoid the need to confront a particular community. The town saw upwards of 1,400 children sexually exploited over more than a decade; groomed by predominantly Pakistani-heritage men offering drugs, alcohol and attention followed by sexual abuse and mental and physical coercion.

Despite the widespread knowledge of this practice across the local authority, statutory partnerships and many local residents, those with the power to act chose to defend ‘community cohesion’ and political correctness over the vulnerable children in their care. Destroying evidence of perpetrator ethnicity and shutting down services was preferable to confronting criminals from a minority ethnic community; such was their fear of offending local cultural sensitivities.”

UKIP is the only national party that opposes political correctness, combats the widespread refusal to see and name reality as it really is, and refuses to play the PC game. We did it over Brexit. We especially did it over mass immigration. Unilaterally we changed the political agenda and reset the political debate; this was because to UKIP it is more important to tell the truth than to avoid offending someone’s feelings or sensibilities.

This doesn’t make us popular with the political class or with some vocal minorities on the Left, but it does make us a radical anti-establishment party that ordinary people like and support.

We now have the electoral opportunity and moral responsibility to enter the fray over the issue. For the sake of the girls and their families who still suffer, we must campaign to terminate Labour Party domination of grooming gang towns across the North and Midlands, and put an end to their harmful political correctness.

Local elections on 3rd May are less than nine weeks away. Let’s start there.