Published on Thursday, 11 October 2012 16:22 Written by Sonia Gable
Since I wrote yesterday about Kevin Carroll’s bid to become police and crime commissioner for Bedfordshire, Stephen Lennon, his cousin and co-leader of the English Defence League, has tweeted his resignation as joint deputy leader of the British Freedom Party. In a second tweet Lennon, who uses the alias Tommy Robinson, wished Carroll “the best”. Carroll is standing on a BFP ticket and is the other deputy leader of the minuscule party.
Lennon’s sudden resignation, after just a few months in post, may well be motivated by a wish not to embarrass the BFP if he is found guilty of any of the offences on which he is facing trial, as Hope Not Hate suggests, though perhaps his concern is more for his cousin’s election chances than for the party itself. Or he has had a bust-up with Paul Weston, the BFP chairman and former UK Independence Party candidate. The two men come from very different political backgrounds. Or, again, perhaps Lennon has been stung by all the criticism after the EDL’s disastrous outing in Walthamstow last month, is a bit jealous of all the attention his cousin is getting, and wants to concentrate on rescuing his army of thugs and building up his own position as their general.
Or perhaps Lennon has recognised he is not cut out for regular political activity. In a formal statement, the BFP admitted: “Tommy has recognised that his heart and strengths lie within the Street Protest Movements.”
The BFP said it and Carroll supported Lennon’s decision. It added: “Kevin is rapidly developing an impressive political profile and has a great deal to offer in the political arena. He is well respected within the EDL and within British Freedom and will continue to play a significant role in both.”
It went on: “Both organisations share many core values and will continue to support each other’s work. The change will offer a two pronged approach that will complement our joint objectives. The greatest achievements of both organisations are yet to come.” I don’t think this last was meant as a joke.
Whatever the real reason for Lennon’s resignation and whatever spin the BFP puts on it, his departure isn’t going to help Carroll’s election campaign. Many of the EDL’s followers will agree with Lennon’s tweet: “i wish to concentrate on edl. i don’t have the passion 4 anything but edl”, and ignore Carroll’s call on Tuesday for people to help him deliver leaflets in Bedfordshire. And the BFP itself has little more than a handful of supporters in the county.
Even though Carroll has raised another £50 for his leaflets since yesterday evening, his campaign is hardly likely to get far off the ground.