Tommy Robinson announces plan to stand for European parliament
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Far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name of Tommy Robinson, has told supporters that he plans to stand as a candidate in the EU elections in the north west region.
The former EDL leader announced his intention on encrypted messaging app Telegram, according to the Independent.
He has several convictions for assault, threatening and abusive behaviour, mortgage fraud and contempt of court, and has close ties with far-right UKIP splinter group For Britain.
His candidacy has prompted campaign group Hope Not Hate to call on people in the north west to register to vote in the EU elections to ensure he is defeated at the ballot box.
Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, 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.
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'He has a long record of abuse towards minorities such as Muslims and wherever he goes trouble has followed.
'Standing in this election is just another way for Lennon to line his pockets, at the expense of democracy and voters.'
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Hope Not Hate's campaigns director Matthew McGregor added: 'The lower the turnout, the higher the chance Stephen Lennon can sneak into an MEP spot through the back door. That's why we're going to launch a massive campaign to encourage people to register to vote before May 7, and to cast their vote in this election.
'Every vote for a non-extremist of whatever stripe makes it harder for the extremists to get in.'