Tommy Robinson blamed government “interference” with social media companies for his failure to secure a seat in the European Parliament.
The independent candidate polled 2.2 per cent of the overall vote in the North West region, taking less than 39,000 votes and finishing in eighth place behind all the major parties.
The former leader of the English Defence League said he was unable to fight a fair campaign because he was taken off various social media platforms. “Trump won his campaign on social media. Brexit was won on social media. I'm banned from social media,” he told reporters at the count in Manchester.
“So my ability to fight a fair campaign is gone, orchestrated and organised by the government. I feel like I have been fighting with my hands tied behind my back.”
He added: “I think on my Facebook (page) 59 million watched my videos in four weeks ... if I still had that ability now I would have walked this election.”
The anti-racism group Hope Not Hate hailed the result and thanked everyone “who took a stand against Robinson’s hateful and divisive rhetoric”. According to the group’s director Nick Lowles, Robinson’s share of the vote was so low he will lose his £5,000 deposit.
Nahella Ashraf from Stand Up To Racism said: “We’ve pushed the far right back and we’re very pleased with the results. I’d like to thank the hundreds of activists that came out across the North West to make this happen.”
Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, claimed the result “proved you cannot have a fair campaign when the establishment and the government interfere and remove any ability you have to talk to the public”.
STEPHEN LENNON HAS CONCEDED DEFEAT IN THE NORTH WEST. “Gutted,” he as said. “Disappointing to say the least.” Brilliant work everyone - WE DID IT! 🤣😂🤣— Nick Lowles (@lowles_nick)May 26, 2019
He added: “My supporters are not even allowed to mention my name or they get deleted, it’s dark … I am just happy if I got non-voters to vote. I’m happy if I politicised people from working class communities.”
Robinson stayed for just short of an hour at the count venue at Manchester Central as he conceded defeat before the first council area result was officially declared.
Before leaving, he told his followers on the Telegram private messaging app: "”Disappointed to say the least. They (the votes) are not in but they are in ... at the same time what do you expect? Going through the votes we have certainly not got a place as a MEP but I want to say a special thank you to every single person who supported.”
The Brexit Party took 31 per cent of the vote and won three seats in the region, while Labour and the Lib Dems claimed two each and the Green Party secured one seat.