Who is Tommy Robinson, has he joined Ukip and why did the ex-EDL leader change his name?


TOMMY Robinson became known to the public after co-founding right wing activist group the English Defence League (EDL).

Let’s take a closer look at the controversial campaigner.

Tommy Robinson is the former leader of the English Defence League
Tommy Robinson is the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL)

Who is Tommy Robinson?

Tommy Robinson, 35, is a right-wing political activist from Luton, Bedfordshire.

His mother was an Irish immigrant who worked as a baker while his adoptive father worked at a local Vauxhall car plant.

He told the Telegraph in 2013: “Everyone in Luton is the son of immigrants. Whether it be Irish, West Indian, Ghanaian, everyone I know.”

Despite performing well academically at school, Robinson repeatedly found himself in trouble as a teenager, citing fights with “Muslim gangs” as one of the reasons for his “problems” as a youth.

Robinson is the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), a far-right street protest movement.

The group – which the former British National Party (BNP) member co-founded in 2009 – are opposed to the spread of “militant Islam”.

He also has a criminal record with convictions for a number of offences, including football-related violence, trying to travel on false documents and a protest against Fifa’s decision to stop the England football team wearing poppies on their shirts.

He has been to prison on multiple occasions including in 2014 for mortgage fraud.

After studying aircraft engineering for five years, Robinson lost his job at Luton Airport in 2003 after punching an off-duty police officer during a drunken row.

He claims that stricter security measures following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, meant he has been blacklisted from working at airports.

Robinson was captured on film repeatedly punching a man in the head at Royal Ascot.

The activist was banned from Twitter on March 28, 2018, for breaching the social media platform’s “hateful conduct” policy.

He is married with three children.

On 17th January Robinson announced his YouTube account adverts have been suspended in a bid to stop the far-right activist generating cash.

What’s his connection to Ukip?

Robinson has been appointed as an adviser to the United Kingdom Independence Party.

Ukippers who want him to become a member have pushed a vote on his membership of the party back until after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

Leader Gerard Batten said he was “looking forward to working with him” and he has “great knowledge” in the area.

Ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage said Mr Batten had a “fascination” with Robinson and Islam and he was “appalled” he would be advising the party, saying he’s dragged it too much to the right.

The Brexit-backer said he’d be writing to the NEC to urge a vote of no confidence in him and shuck him out as leader as he was dragging the party “in a shameful direction”.

He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “It goes against everything I did as leader… [having Tommy Robinson in the Brexit debate] will damage the Leave cause in this country.

“It’s time we got rid of Gerard Batten and reclaimed the party.”

Why was he jailed in May 2018?

Robinson was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court on May 25, 2018 – but the world only learnt about it several days later.

He was first arrested on suspicion of breaching the peace by streaming a video outside Leeds Crown Court.

Robinson admitted committing contempt of court by publishing information that could prejudice an ongoing trial.

He was already on a suspended sentence for a previous contempt offence in Canterbury in 2017 – and been told that another offence could land him in jail.

His sentence wasn’t reported on initially because of a reporting restriction that was then overturned after reporters successfully challenged the restriction.

The judge who sentenced Robinson told him his actions may cost taxpayers “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds”.

His arrest sparked a mass protest outside Downing Street as supporters called for his release, with the slogan #FreeTommy.

RMT Union boss Steve Hedley was left injured after he was speaking at a counter-protest to a rally in support of Robinson on July 14.

In July 2018 Robinson appealed against his sentence at the Court of Appeal in London.

After a brief hearing judges said they will reach a decision by the end of July.

Prior to his hearing it emerged that Donald Trump’s representative held a meeting with the UK’s ambassador urging them to free Robinson.

Reports suggest that, after lobbying by the right-wing website Breitbart the former Senator Sam Brownback met with the British envoy to Washington Sir Kim Darroch.

Has he been released?

Yes, on August 1, 2018, Robinson was released on bail after winning his challenge to his contempt of court conviction.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other judges in London quashed a finding of contempt made in May at Leeds Crown Court and ordered a fresh hearing of the allegation against him.

On September 27, a fresh trial into the contempt of court claims over the Leeds trial got underway at the Old Bailey.

Robinson could face being sent back to jail, with a maximum sentence of two years in prison, if the judge finds him in contempt over the Leeds case.

Speaking of the previous contempt of court conviction in 2017, Robinson told Sky News that he does not care if his message “incites fear” of Muslims, and is “not bothered about the law” if he believes he is “morally right”.

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said: “If I believe I’m morally right then I’m not bothered about what your law says… I believe that forewarned is forearmed. All I wanted to do was get a video of their faces and I want every single child and parent who lives in that vicinity to know what those men were alleged to have done.”

“The judge let down the British public. Those men should have been in a prison cell,” he claimed.

“I don’t care if it incites fear as long as it educates the children and prevents them from being raped,” he added.

He also said that he “wasn’t aware of contempt of court laws” at the time, and has since received legal training.


What’s his real name and why did he change it?

Robinson’s real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, but he has been known to use several aliases, including Andrew McMaster and Paul Harris.

He claims he started using multiple identities during his time with the EDL for protection after threats of violence against him.He headed the group from 2009 until October 8, 2013 when he was persuaded to leave the organisation after speaking with anti-extremist think tank Quilliam.

Robinson later went on to claim he was paid £2,000 per month for Quilliam to take credit for his leaving the EDL.

In 2015, he was also involved with the founding of the UK branch of German anti-Islam pressure group Pegida.

But he stepped down from his role with this organisation as well, saying he wanted it to be more “middle-class” than the EDL.

He now works as a journalist for Canadian right-wing news organisation The Rebel Media and owns a sunbed shop in his home town of Luton.

Was Tommy Robinson ‘beaten up’ outside McDonald’s in March 2018?

Robinson alleged he was “violently attacked by left wing extremists” outside a McDonald’s in London on March 10, 2018.

The firebrand ex-EDL leader tweeted about an alleged scrap he got into in the capital.

A video appears to show him being confronted by a gang near the fast food outlet.

It is not thought he was seriously hurt.

Caolan Robertson, a video producer, said Robinson was “being violently attacked in London by violent, left wing extremists”.

The gang has not been identified.



Did Tommy Robinson boast about buying drugs?

In a foul-mouthed rant, Robinson bragged about being able to score drugs in any country he visited and used slurs in a drunken video.

The video was filmed in Bologna, Italy last month, shows him walking down the street on his own.

Talking to the camera, the EDL co-founder, slurs: “No matter where I’ve gone in the world, I score. I will show you tonight.

“I’ve gone to Qatar, I’ve gone to Doha and scored gear on the sesh while they’re all praying.”


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