June 12, 2011

Theresa May ambushed at constituency meeting by head of English Defence League

Several protests involving the group have ended in violence with
opponents accusing the group of seeking to spread a message of hatred

Theresa May was last night dramatically ambushed at a constituency meeting by the head of the far-right English Defence League.

The Home Secretary fears the group – whose marches she has banned in the past - will now seek to exploit the face-to-face confrontation for a propaganda coup.

The self-proclaimed head of the EDL, who normally gives his name as ‘Tommy Robinson’, managed to by-pass security checks by posing as the companion of one of Mrs May’s constituents. He then began haranguing the Home Secretary about why the EDL – whose demonstrations have been marred by violence – was treated differently to other groups.

Mrs May says she walked away from the exchange in Maidenhead Town Hall – which comes ahead of a planned local march in the town by the EDL today.

Normally, the leader of a known extremist organisation would have no chance of getting near to the Home Secretary. She told the Mail: ‘My concern now is that he will try to make something of it, which he should not do. He did not have a meeting with me – I was completely door stepped. I did not even recognise him. This is a group whose purpose is to divide and to encourage hatred in our society and I condemn them for that.’

One concern is the group may claim to have formally met Mrs May, in a bid to gain some political legitimacy.

Normally, the Home Secretary’s meetings would be closely vetted – reflecting the fact she is not only a Cabinet minister, but in charge of national security. But MPs, under long-standing convention, agree to sit down with any constituents who have concerns in open meetings, normally held in public buildings.

Mrs May had an appointment with a man who was complaining about his treatment by the police. Constituents will often be joined by a family member or friend. When the man sat down, his colleague said to Mrs May: Do you know who I am? I’m the head of the English Defence League’. He then began complaining about how the EDL had been treated, saying it was different to Muslim groups, and demanding an appointment of his own. She refused.

Mrs May recently accepted Leicester City Council’s application to ban a planned EDL march in the city. The EDL responded by holding a static demonstration numbering 1,000. The Unite Against Fascism (UAF) group staged a counter-protest numbering 700. One police officer was taken to hospital with a leg injury and two protesters were treated by paramedics for minor injuries.

The English Defence League (EDL) formed in the wake of a demo by a small group of Muslims at a Luton homecoming parade in March 2009. Since then they have protested all over the UK against ‘radical Islam’. In recent months, there have been suggestions the group could become a political party.

Opponents accuse the group of seeking to spread a message of hatred. There have been claims the group is made up of a number of football hooligans. Leader Tommy Robinson – whose name is an alias – claimed: ‘The British people want to have their voices heard. A resistance to Islamification was always going to happen.’

A number of anti-fascist groups have attempted to unmask his real identity. The EDL has denied a string of names.

MPs surgeries have in the past been the scene of heated clashes and even violence. Last year, Roshonara Choudhary stabbed Labour minister Stephen Timms seriously wounded the Labour MP Stephen Timms. Inspired by terrorist websites, she lunged at him and stabbed him twice before being restrained by a security guard and arrested.

Mail Online

Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up


Anonymous said...

There's something about the 'night' about May. Reminds me of Cruella.....

Anonymous said...

"A number of anti-fascist groups have attempted to unmask his real identity. The EDL has denied a string of names."

I'm afraid the Mail reporter, James Slack, has been true to his name in his research. Everyone knows Tommy Robinson's real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a fact that has been widely reported and is no longer denied.

Anonymous said...

Here is the Istyosty link for people who want to avoid giving the Heil page impressions: