Liberal Democrat Leader, Jo Swinson, has today written to Boris Johnson asking him to publicly reject the endorsement of his campaign by Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson.
Jo Swinson said:
“Tommy Robinson spreads hate and division, poisoning our communities by setting people against each other.
“The fact that Tommy Robinson backs Boris Johnson tells you everything you need to know about today's Conservative party.
“If you want to stop the Conservatives, stop Brexit and stop Tommy Robinson's preferred candidate for Prime Minister, then vote for the Liberal Democrats.”
Notes to Editors:
The text of the letter is below:
Dear Boris Johnson,
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, today encouraged people to vote for you in the General Election.
He made the endorsement outside the High Court where he is appearing over his comments about a Syrian refugee boy who was filmed being attacked at his school in Huddersfield.
Yaxley-Lennon founded the extreme far-right English Defence League and has multiple criminal convictions, including for assault. He has repeatedly used derogatory, dangerous and racist language.
I am therefore urging you to publicly reject his endorsement.
There should be no place for figures such as Yaxley-Lennon in British politics and his endorsement should be anathema to any candidate seeking to improve the lives of people across the UK.
Hate crimes are on the rise across the UK and politics has been blighted by threats and violent language. It is incumbent on all those in the public eye to reject toxic rhetoric and figures who seek to sow division and fear.
I know you have gladly accepted the endorsements of individuals such as Nigel Farage and Arron Banks but I would urge you to put dog-whistle politics and ambitions aside and recognise that this is far beyond the pale.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats