Tommy Robinson to stand in European elections

Tommy Robinson has announced he will stand in the forthcoming European elections.

The former English Defence League leader, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, pledged to represent “the working class of England” if elected as an Independent MEP in the North West.

In a letter on his website he claimed politicians including Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and those in the European Union are “laughing at us”

He said: “17.4 million of us voted for Brexit, but they don’t care about people like us. They’ve tried to silence us, and they took away our democratic rights by betraying Brexit.”

He went on to describe Nigel Farage, who has launched the Brexit Party, as “just another millionaire stockbroker who looks down at the working classes”.

He will continue as an adviser to Ukip leader Gerard Batten, despite running against eight of the party’s candidates, a spokesman for Ukip said.

He is unable to join Ukip’s membership under party rules because anyone who has previously been an English Defence League member is banned.

The spokesman said: “Mr Robinson has chosen to stand as an independent and we will be standing our full slate of candidates in the North West.

“Ukip is committed to getting Ukip members elected to the European Parliament first and foremost.”

Anti-extremism campaigners Hope Not Hate called for voters to sign up to oppose the “far-right thug”.

Chief executive Nick Lowles said: “Stephen Lennon is a far-right thug who uses his platform to bully, abuse and stir up division, monetising his hatred to rake in donations from his fans.

“In these Euro elections, the fewer people who vote, the easier it is for extremists to win a seat, so if you’ve ever been appalled or angered by Stephen Lennon’s constant diet of fake news, hatred and abuse towards others, then you need to ensure you, your friends, family and community turn up and vote on May 23.

“The North West needs a voice of hope, not hatred.”

Ahead of a visit to Manchester by Mr Robinson on Thursday evening, Labour MP Mike Kane, speaking in the Commons, said the activist is “not welcome to spread his xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, racist vitriol in my community or in any other community”.

Mr Kane added: “He seeks to divide rather than to unite people. We do things differently in Manchester, we stand together against hate.”