Former EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson has announced plans to stand as a candidate for the North West in the European elections.
The the anti-Islam activist was due to address supporters at an event in Wythenshawe this evening saying there would be an announcement about his plans.
If the elections go-ahead it will mean he will be competing for votes with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party and UKIP despite him having a position as an adviser to the party.
Community leaders in Wythenshawe and anti-racist campaigners have condemned the move.
Lennon and his supporters complain he has been smeared as a racist, and insist he does not care about skin colour and his objection is to Islamist political ideology rather than people.
He has been filmed visiting an estate branding muslims as “enemy combatants who want to kill you, maim you and destroy you”. He said “Somalis are backward barbarians” and that refugees are “raping their way through the country”.
Lennon, a former member of the far right British National Party, has a string of convictions for various offences including common assault and mortgage fraud and last year was jailed for contempt of court for live streaming outside court case when he confronted defendants in a child sexual exploitation trial.
It was feared the trial, which was linked to two other major trials involving men accused and later convicted for their part in a grooming gang in Huddersfield, could have been wrecked because of his actions.
Contempt laws restrict the reporting of trials that are linked together to prevent juries being influenced by the media. Lennon had claimed the “main stream media” were deliberately covering up the case.
Following Lennon’s conviction for contempt, a local journalist Stephanie Finnegan, who covered the case and the grooming trial received rape and death threats from his supporters.
Lennon was released after the prison term was overturned but faces being returned to prison after the contempt case was referred to the Attorney General. The hearing is expected to take place next month.
Earlier today faith leaders and Wythenshawe’s MP said Lennon’s views were not welcome in the town and the anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate has launched a campaign to stop him being elected.