Dozens of MPs from across the political spectrum have sent a letter to the US government demanding the country blocks a proposed visit by Tommy Robinson for an upcoming speaking engagement.
The correspondence expresses “grave concern” the far-right agitator could raise an estimated £1 million during the trip – which, it says, would be pumped back into dividing UK communities.
And it points out that Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – is already banned from entering the US stemming from a series of past criminal convictions.
High profile signatories include Labour MPs Vernon Coaker and Ian Austin, and Tory MP Michael Fabricant.
It warns: “The purpose of the visit in question is for Yaxley-Lennon to speak to prominent audiences in Washington DC and to secure media appearances to promote his violent and extremist agenda… He is expected to be able to raise $1.4 million during the potential visit. We expect he would use those funds to organise further disruptive demonstrations in communities across the UK.”
Seven Republican congressmen along with the anti-Muslim groups, the Middle East Forum and the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, have invited Robinson to speak at a closed event.
But the 35-year-old would need a special waiver from the US government to travel because of a long-standing ban.
In 2012 he was convicted of entering the country on a false passport, for which he received a 10-month prison sentence in the UK. He travelled on a false passport having been denied a visa because of previous criminal convictions for violence.
Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at Hope Not Hate, 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.”
The letter follows a day after PayPal banned Robinson from using its payment system.
The company said: “We do not take decisions like these lightly, and we work hard to be rigorous and fair-minded when reviewing PayPal accounts.
“Striking the necessary balance between upholding free expression and open dialogue and protecting principles of tolerance, diversity and respect for all people is a challenge that many companies are grappling with today.”
Robinson said: “They just don’t like my opinion and want to silence me. The government and establishment can see I have public support, they can see I have the ability to fight back.”