Who is Tommy Robinson? The former EDL leader and right-wing figurehead

Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson has stated his intent to visit the home of Hearts via an Instagram post, following a show of support from a group of men pictured in front of a Hearts flag at a recent event - here's everything you need to know about the controversial figure.
Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)
Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)
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Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson promises Hearts visit after masked group phot...

What is his real name?

Tommy Robinson is the pseudonym of Luton resident Stephen Yaxley-Lennon - he has previously gone by the names Andrew McMaster and Paul Harris.

Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)
Tommy Robinson stated his intent to visit Tynecastle Park in an Instagram post (Photo: Getty)

He took the name Tommy Robinson from a football hooligan of the same name, who fought for Luton "firm" the MIGs (Men In Gear)

What are his politics?

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Robinson has described his politics as "liberal in many senses." He has also denied being far right, stating “What this paper [Wales Online] has done, it has classed me as far right. I haven’t challenged these accusations for years, I should have been. There’s nothing far right about me.”

According to anti-hate organisation Hope Not Hate, he is a far-right, Islamophobic extremist.

The 35-year-old co-founded the EDL (English Defence League); a far-right activist group against militant Islamic extremism, though their rhetoric targets Muslims more widely. In 2011 two members of the group were found guilty of plotting to bomb a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent.

He left the EDL in 2013 citing "dangers of far-right extremism", but insisting that he would continue to "counter Islamist ideology".

Since leaving the group he has founded the UK branch of Pegida, an Islamophobic, far-right movement described by Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, as a combination of "neo-Nazis, far-right parties and citizens who think they are finally allowed to show their racism and xenophobia openly".

Following an Islamophobic, vehicle ramming attack on Finsbury Park Mosque in London, Robinson said: "The mosque where the attack happened tonight has a long history of creating terrorists and radical jihadists and promoting hate and segregation".

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Throughout his career, Tommy Robinson has used social media as a platform to denounce and ridicule the Muslim faith, often using inflammatory and racist language.

One incendiary tweet by Robinson read: "What do you call a pakistani that don't smell #asif".

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In another he stated: "To my Muslim follower. 50 percent of you marry your cousins Give me a rt if your one of those that ended up f*cking there cousin #inbred".

In response to the influx of refugees to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Robinson tweeted: "I'd personally send every adult male Muslim that has come to the EU over the past 12 months back tomorrow if I could. Fake refugees."

Earlier this year his account was permanently deleted by Twitter.

Why was Tommy Robinson imprisoned in 2018?

In 2017 Robinson was convicted of contempt of court and handed a suspended sentence for nearly causing the collapse of a gang-rape trial, for filming inside Canterbury Crown Court, referring to defendants as "Muslim child rapists".

In 2018 Robinson again nearly caused the collapse of a court case against a grooming gang, this time live-streaming events outside Leeds Crown Court despite reporting instructions being ordered by the judge. For this he was sentenced to 13 months imprisonment.

As a result of his imprisonment the Free Tommy Robinson movement was launched, with a petition calling for Robinson's release receiving 500,000 signatures.

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After two months Robinson was released on bail after winning his challenge against the contempt of court finding.

Earlier this month he was formally removed from his bail conditions and his case referred to the Attorney General.

What are his previous convictions?

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As well as being arrested for contempt of court, Tommy Robinson has received multiple criminal convictions throughout his life.

In 2005 he was jailed for assault, causing actually bodily harm.

In 2010 he was charged with assaulting a police officer following clashes at a poppy burning protest.

A year later Tommy Robinson was arrested for performing a rooftop protest in Zurich following FIFA's decision to not allow the English team to wear poppies due to the organisation's ban on politcial symbols.

In the same year Robinson was convicted of assault at an EDL march, headbutting a march goer who accused him of being a police informant.

In 2011 he was also found guilty of leading 100 Luton football fans into a brawl against Newport County fans. For this he was handed a 12 month suspended sentence.

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Two years later he was jailed for ten months for visiting the United States on a friend's passport. Due to previous drug convictions he was unable to use his own passport to visit the country.

In 2014 he was convicted of mortgage fraud, receiving a sentence of 18 months.

Public appearances

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Tommy Robinson has contributed to far-right political and social commentary media website Rebel Media.

In 2014 he was invited to speak at the Oxford Union, criticising the media, police and politicians for failing to tackle criminal activity for fear of being labelled Islamophobic.

In October the BBC were heavily criticised for posting an image of Robinson with tape over his mouth along with text reading: "Tommy Robinson a man raising concerns that others ignore, or a far-right figure exploiting the victims of sexual abuse for his own ends?" The image was used to promote a Newsnight feature on the divisive figure.

Earlier this week Robinson was invited to talk to Republican members of congress in Washington, but was denied a visa due to his previous criminal convictions.

He has written two books; Mohammed's Koran: Why Muslims Kill For Islam and an autobiography titled Enemy of the State.