Searchlight Magazine

EDL leader released from prison

Stephen Lennon has been released from prison less than seven weeks after he was sentenced for possession of a false identity document with improper intention. Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson in his role as leader of the English Defence League, was jailed for ten months on 7 January but immediately applied for release on home detention curfew, which means he is electronically tagged and has other restrictions.

Announcing the news yesterday evening, the EDL said Robinson would like to spend time with his family now and asked supporters to “respect his wish for privacy, and respect his need for a little time away from the EDL so he can get his life back on track”.

His request may be motivated more by a wish not to break the conditions for his release, which probably include not attending EDL protests. Supporters who hope to see him in Cambridge tomorrow or Manchester on 2 March are likely to be disappointed.

He will also be concerned to defend himself against three charges of conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, which he denies.

Robinson, whose real name may not be Lennon at all but Paul Harris, the name on what Southwark Crown Court was told was his genuine passport, asked supporters to “get behind and fully support Kev Carroll, joint leader and co founder of our movement as we keep moving forward”. The EDL has been foundering and splintering since Robinson’s incarceration and is now very far from the “only counter jihad movement in the UK that matters”, in the words of the EDL’s announcement.

Carroll, who is Robinson’s cousin, may also face criminal charges after his arrest on 12 January in Luton by police officers investigating allegations he posted a message inciting racial hatred on Facebook. He has been bailed with conditions. Carroll is also the leader of the tiny far-right British Freedom Party, but has not distinguished himself. The party remains deregistered by the Electoral Commission and has had no activity since Carroll’s unsuccessful campaign to be elected as the police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire last November.  

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