Tommy Robinson: Culture Secretary calls for YouTube to ‘reconsider’ hosting activist’s videos

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has urged YouTube to “reconsider their judgment” over hosting Tommy Robinson videos after Labour deputy leader Tom Watson called for them to be removed.

Mr Watson said every other major social media platform has taken down the content from Mr Robinson, also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, because “of his hateful conduct”.

He told the Commons that the right-wing activist had been “banging on the door of a journalist” late at night this week, and after being led away by police “returned at 4am and continued his intimidation”.

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Tommy Robinson: YouTube faces mounting pressure to ban right-wing activist
Founder and former leader of the anti-Islam English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, AKA Tommy Robinson. (Getty Images)

Mr Watson said it was being live-streamed, and that Mr Robinson later warned in a YouTube video that the journalist should “expect a knock at the door”, asking if Mr Wright thought it “right that YouTube continues to give this man a platform”.

The Cabinet minister said we all believe in freedom of speech, but added: “We all believe that freedom of speech has limits.

“And we believe that those who seek to intimidate others, those that seek to potentially break the law, because the description he’s given the House this morning is potentially a description of criminal behaviour, that is unacceptable.

“That is beyond the reach of the type of freedom of speech that we believe should be protected.

“And, as I have said, all internet companies, all platforms for this kind of speech need to take their responsibilities seriously.”

On Mr Robinson’s profile, he added: “I hope YouTube will consider this very carefully, consider what he has said, what I have said, and reconsider their judgment”.

Mr Watson welcomed the comments, and asked if the forthcoming White Paper on internet safety would include provisions to: “Stop hate figures, extremists and their followers turning the online world into a cesspit of hate?”

Mr Wright replied: “No freedom of speech can survive in this country if we do not protect people’s ability to feel free to say what they think, free of intimidation, free of the threat of violence.”