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.