MPs urge US officials to block Tommy Robinson visit
MPs from the Black Country and Staffordshire have urged US officials to block anti-Islam activist Tommy Robinson from entering America.
Robinson, a founder and former member of the far-right group the English Defence League, has been invited to speak at an event in Washington later this month.
Opponents fear his presence could open up new sources of funding for his campaigns.
Robinson is understood to be waiting for authorisation under the US's ESTA system before embarking on the trip. He is currently banned from entering the USA due to 2012 conviction for entering the country on a false passport, for which he received a 10-month prison sentence in the UK.
Now cross-party group of more than 50 MPs have written to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, insisting that Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, would use the trip to 'promote his violent and extremist agenda'.
The letter is signed by Dudley North MP Ian Austin and Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz, both Labour, and the Tory MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant.
It says: "We hope you agree that it would send a terrible signal if a convicted felon deemed inadmissible to the United States such as Yaxley-Lennon were allowed to travel to your country and speak before a prominent audience despite his conviction for previously entering the United States illegally.
"Clearly the gravity of his criminal serious record, his brazen violation of US immigration law and the threat he poses to the American public will ensure that he isn't granted admission to the US."
Joe Mulhall, senior researcher at campaign group HOPE not hate, said Robinson's fundraising visit was '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 £1million in funding, which he would then use to organise demos around the UK, sowing further division and violence," he added.
Robinson, 35, was freed from prison in August after three judges quashed a contempt of court finding due to the 'fundamentally flawed' way that his case was handled.
He has since been formally released from bail, but could face further legal action by the Attorney General.