Searchlight Names EDL Leader “Tommy Robinson” as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon

(Updated and amended)

Searchlight‘s Hope Not Hate website carries an article about EDL leader “Tommy Robinson” – and reveals his real name:

Searchlight can exclusively reveal that the leader of the English Defence League is a former British National Party member… Self-proclaimed EDL leader Tommy Robinson is really Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, from Bedford.

…The revelation that Robinson had been a member of the BNP explains why so many of the initial EDL activists also attended BNP meetings in the Luton/Bedford area.

…It also explains the real reason why Robinson felt the need to hide his face.

“Tommy Robinson” has now confirmed his identity as Yaxley-Lennon on Facebook.

So why has this come out now?

The exposure of his identity follows a split in the EDL that is mostly being fought over the internet.

Paul Ray, self-styled spiritual guru of the EDL, has posted a series of messages on his Lionheart blog, in which he and his friend Nick Greger announce their intention to take control of the EDL. Ray was the original mover in creating the EDL, although he quickly fell out with the other leaders and moved abroad to Malta. Ray has focused his efforts on making Crusader-themed anti-Muslim promotional videos.

I’ve blogged this saga on numerous occasions; indeed, the Searchlight article includes some material lifted from me (particularly here, and annoyingly without credit). The article adds:

…It is thought that Ray and Greger were responsible for the appearance of a video on YouTube that unveiled Robinson as Stephen Yaxley along with a series of photographs, following outlandish claims by Ray that the EDL led by Robinson threatened to kidnap and harm members of Ray’s family.

This is not quite the full story: on 14 June a video appeared entitled “EDL leader Tommy Robinson Unmasked” (H/T Contemporary Anarchist), posted by “EDLmediauk” (who does not have any other uploads), and this appears to be the video to which Searchlight refers. However, although this video showed photos of Yaxley-Lennon, it didn’t give his name. His name does appear, though, in a mysterious video that was uploaded on 11 October 2009 by a certain”mrmuppet100” and entitled “English Defence League”; the same photos were displayed over audio of “Tommy Robinson’s” voice, and a comment was  added underneath the upload:

hey its steven yaxley………….

I originally thought that Ray took himself far too seriously to have chosen such a pseudonym as “mrmuppet100“, but the new video uses imagery from the Muppet Show to make fun of Yaxley-Lennon and other EDL leaders – that was probably also the sense in which “mrmuppet” meant to use the name. The new video also has some stylistic similarities with Ray’s videos, and it also derides Chris Renton – whom Ray particularly dislikes – and Joel Titus, the EDL youth leader whom I’ve blogged about previously. The photos of Yaxley-Lennon in the new video appear to have been taken directly from the October video, since the face of another person is edited out in the same way.

UPDATE: 1 Million United writes:

…’Robinson’ has not been seen since the story broke.

The EDL are keeping all talk of his subsequent disappearance off of their forum and official websites. Of course, the real clue is this; ‘Tommy Robinson’ deleted his Facebook account very shortly after the story broke and his cover was blown. He is no longer even listed on the admins list of the official EDL Facebook group.

1 Million United also has a screenshot of a statement on the EDL Media Facebook page:

We are aware of the article in the recent edition of Searchlight and also the article published in the Hope Not Hate website. We are not ignoring the article and are in the process of looking into its comments with regard to various issues.

We will update you later and in the meantime please just treat the article with the contempt it deserves.

13 Responses

  1. Paul Ray has a long history as you know, he was arrested by police for his islamaphobic remarks, and moved to Israel where he joined right wing groups attacking Islam

  2. Have you actually read Searchlight this month or just what is on their website?

    I received mine this morning and it is a thorough investigation of this mob of freaks, none of which I have seen covered any where else.

    I think it is quite poor form of you to try and take responsibility for a proper piece of research when after all, all that you had were couple of unsubstantiated internet rumours.

    • I think it is quite poor form of you to try and take responsibility for a proper piece of research

      What are you on about? Yes, Searchlight has done a good job, that’s not in dispute – I respect the efforts of the writers involved, and it’s clear the “scoop” is theirs – but since a couple of sentences have been taken from my site on the Adair/Ray background, it would have been nice to have been credited for that, that’s all. I don’t appreciate the suggestion that expressing such a reasonable wish amounts to “poor form”.

  3. Well said Ritchie. Without your exposes on Ray, Greger and Adair I’m afraid many, including Newsnight would be unaware of a connection or of Ray’s founding of the EDL.

    Credit where credits due. And its due.

  4. I also hold with the ‘Ray/Gregor’ authorship for the video. The vIdeo first appeared on youtube. The first mention I heard was on the EDL forum. I searched for the video using google, which located a video from ‘edlmediauk’.
    Duly, I embedded the video, and Lo, the first visitor using a google search hit for ‘Tommy Robinson unmasked’ came from Malta and was using a german search engine.

  5. Addendum: First mention I heard was on the EDL forum (of which I am not a member) – they have recently made their forum open for all to read, but it’s best done using a proxy surfer, as with any extremist site that threatens violence.

  6. One of the reasons the EDL’s support is growing. When you have a society that can no longer enforce the laws and a police force hamstruibng by P.C. platitudes, then you just know you’re in deep, deep trouble.

    Searchlight is irrelevant now. It serves no purpose because it cannot distinguish between democrat and fascist, victim and aggresser. It is events such as the one in the link below that feed the need for self- defence and not some innate tendancy towards fascism on the part of Britons.The extent to which The Far Left has perverted british society and has made law-enforcement pratically impossible is proportional to the extent the EDL will grow and prosper. The look of this man’s face is a metaphor for your entire society.

    http://theopinionator.typepad.com/my_weblog/

  7. Searchlight irrelevant and unable to distinguish between a democract and fascist?

    Judging by the rest of your nonsesne, I’d say neither can you!

  8. June prophesises EDL’s bright future …

    June spake: “The extent to which The Far Left has perverted british society and has made law-enforcement pratically impossible is proportional to the extent the EDL will grow and prosper”

    This could be taken to mean that the EDL will eventually settle as a group with a core of around 100 ‘activists’ who spend their time entrenched in internecine rivalries with other far-right groupiscules whilst desparately trying to get one of their members elected to a key NUS position.

  9. [...] Update 6: June 2010, Searchlight Names EDL Leader “Tommy Robinson” as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. [...]

  10. [...] blogged on Carroll here) [UPDATE: Apparently Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who heads the EDL as "Tommy Robinson", was refused entry at JFK Airport]. Picture 15 shows a glimpse of a banner representing the [...]

  11. [...] apparently declined to be interviewed, while the EDL’s “Tommy Robinson” failed to show up for a meeting with the BBC. However, the programme did make clear that [...]

  12. [...] today’s EDL rally at Aldgate in London, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka “Tommy Robinson) eluded police attempts to stop him speaking by… disguising [...]

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