'Tommy Robinson' goes into hiding
The English Defence League has been forced to issue a statement to its supporters denying rumours that its leader has vanished.
"Tommy Robinson is still our leader he has not gone into hiding and has not left us," the statement reads. "Just because you don't see Tommy posting on facebook all the time does not mean he is not busy."
Of course, the EDL is telling porkies again. Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has gone to ground following his expose as a former BNP member who has served prison time for a violent assault on an off-duty police officer.
Despite some initial bravado after his true identity emerged, Yaxley-Lennon is now a little bit nervous. He was initially named as Stephen Yaxley and he obviously hoped that this was enough to keep his fascist past and criminal conviction hidden. However, it wasn't long before Searchlight researchers discovered his full name and his past unravelled. Since then Yaxley-Lennon is trembling.
His disappearance isn't the only problem affecting the EDL. There is growing disquiet over decision-making and poor communication between the un-elected leadership and the activists.
The EDL statement gives an upbeat message about regional reorganisation and a forthcoming policy and activity document but the truth is different. Divisions are beginning to emerge and rivals are circling.
Nick Lowles at HOPE not hate
English Defence League is urged to scrap plans for a "costly" demonstration in Dudley on July 17
A controversial anti-Muslim group has refused to scrap plans for another demonstration in Dudley that could cost the borough £150,000. Traders in the town centre could also be hit hard by the rally staged by the English Defence League on July 17.
Council leaders have branded the demo ‘pointless’ as plans by Dudley Muslim Association for a new mosque in Hall Street had now been jettisoned. The Association is now seeking to extend its building in Castle Hill following discussions with council officers.
Coun Anne Millward, Conservative group leader and leader of the council, said: “The EDL’s unnecessary visits, which often result in major disruption, violence and public disorder, cost the taxpayer and local communities thousands of pounds. When they visited in April it also caused a significant loss of trade to local businesses. We are opposed to this proposed event and call on the organisers to cancel this pointless waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Labour group leader Coun David Sparks said: “This demonstration should be banned. The fact that Dudley has not got the power to stop it going ahead reinforces my view that the law should be changed so the Government can step in and stop this madness.”
Council bosses promised to work closely with the police to reassure and support local communities and businesses before and after the protest, which police have decided will take place on Stafford Street car park.
EDL spokesman Steve Simmons said: “The council says the new mosque has been sidelined but until there’s a definite written result, we’ll just carry on.”
Charles Hanmer, chairman of traders’ group Dudley Town Centre Partnership, said some shops could close during the demonstration. “We don’t want the EDL and we haven’t invited them to Dudley,” he said.