Far-right activist Tommy Robinson must remain barred from entering America, a group of 55 British MPs have told the US Secretary of State.
In a letter to Donald Trump’s administration, the cross-party group express “grave concern” that Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – could be granted a waiver by the US government.
Such a move would allow the founder of the English Defence League to take up a high-profile speaking and media engagements in Washington DC next week that could raise as much as £1m.
Seven Republican congressmen, as well as US anti-Muslim groups, the Middle East Forum (MEF) and the David Horowitz Freedom Centre have invited Robinson to speak at a closed event.
As it stands, Robinson is banned from travelling to the USA due to a 2012 conviction for entering the country on a false passport, for which he received a ten-month prison sentence in the UK.
Robinson was said to be using the fake passport after being denied a visa due to criminal convictions for violence.
The MPs, which include Tories, Labour and Lib Dems, warn Robinson plans to “speak to prominent audiences in Washington DC and to secure media appearances to promote his violent and extremist agenda” and add any funds he raised could be used “to organise further disruptive demonstrations in communities across the UK”.
“Such demonstrations have resulted in outbreaks of violence in the past,” they added.
Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at the anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate, called on Mike Pompeo to think carefully.
He said: “Stephen Lennon is a violent thug who broke American law by entering the US on a fake passport in 2012. It would make a mockery of the US laws for the Administration to allow him into the country.
“His fundraising visit is not in the UK public interest. Lennon would receive a huge boost if he’s allowed into the US, not least in the form of around £1m in funding, which he would then use to organise demos around the UK, sowing further division and violence.”
Matthew McGregor, head of campaigns at the charity, added UK ministers should be stepping in.
He said: “Stephen Lennon is a violent thug. If he gets into the US for this visit it’d have a terrible impact here in Britain, so why the hell are Theresa May and Sajid Javid not on this? They should tell the Trump administration very firmly: apply your laws, and don’t allow this thug in.”
Robinson was freed from prison in August after three judges quashed a contempt of court finding made at Leeds Crown Court.
He was formally released from bail on Monday, but could face further legal action by the Attorney General.
He denies breaching the Contempt of Court Act and making a broadcast likely to seriously prejudice the trial, the Old Bailey has heard.
The Attorney General’s Office has said all the material was being looked at ‘afresh’ before a decision was made on whether to refer Robinson to the High Court for contempt.