Tommy’s Return

After a relatively quiet period, the unwholesome presence of ‘Tommy Robinson’ is popping up once again in 2022 – but an investigation into the finances…

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Chapter : Tommy’s Return

After a relatively quiet period, the unwholesome presence of ‘Tommy Robinson’ is popping up once again in 2022 – but an investigation into the finances of Stephen-Lennon may yet wipe the smile from his face, say Joe Mulhall and Nick Lowles.

Despite remaining the best known far-right figure in the UK, Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) has experienced several disastrous years and a significant decline in his reach and influence since the height of his notoriety and fame.

Last year (2021) proved to be another difficult year for Lennon, with much of his time preoccupied by ongoing legal problems that have thrown him into personal and political crisis. However, the end of the year also saw him make a dramatic comeback.

As he had done for much of 2020, Lennon started 2021 by focusing on events in the US. Following Donald Trump’s electoral defeat, much of the international far right focused on creating and spreading content that claimed widespread election fraud had been used to elect the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Lennon followed these events obsessively and showed his support to those involved in the insurrection in Washington DC on 6 January.

Alongside US-focused content, he continued to spread medical misinformation, anti-vaccine and COVID-19 conspiracy theories throughout 2021. Even when other issues occupied his main focus, his social media channels continued to pump out misinformation on a near-daily basis throughout the year.

Self-inflicted legal woes

Lennon also spent much of 2021 occupied by one particular issue: the ongoing libel trial brought against him by Jamal Hijazi, a young Syrian refugee. In October 2018, a video went viral of Hijazi, then a 15-year-old schoolboy, being attacked in the playground of a school in Huddersfield. In a subsequent video broadcast on his Facebook page, Lennon mendaciously claimed that the teenager was “not innocent and he violently attacks young English girls in his school”. As costs for the ongoing case mounted and the main trial began, Lennon suddenly declared bankruptcy and divorced his wife.

He decided to represent himself at the libel trial, which turned out to be a poor decision as he lost the case and was ordered to pay Hijazi £100,000 in damages on top of his legal costs, which now look likely to be in excess of £1 million. Lennon has claimed that he is unable to pay a penny as he is bankrupt – though a HOPE not hate investigation has identified well over £2 million in assets linked to Lennon, and an investigation to recoup what he owes is currently underway via an insolvency practitioner.

The court also placed an injunction on Lennon, which stopped him from publishing a long-trailed, self-produced documentary about the case. To get around the order, Lennon has given the film to the US-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (of InfoWars) to publish, but has asked him to hold off releasing it, as he (Lennon) believes he may be arrested on its release. There are plans for the documentary to be released in the first quarter of 2022.

This wasn’t Lennon’s only legal trouble in 2021. In October he was given a five-year stalking protection order, after he went to the property of The Independent journalist Lizzie Dearden in January. Lennon was attempting to stop the publication of an article outlining damaging revelations about his misuse of donations from far-right supporters, but failed and the article was eventually released in March. During the trial it emerged that Lennon hired a private investigator to track down private information about Dearden, and had spread unsubstantiated claims about her partner.

He would later claim, yet again, to his supporters that he was unfairly being victimised for merely being a “journalist ». However, few normal journalists would turn up outside a woman’s home at 10.30pm at night and stand in the street shouting disgusting, libellous and hurtful comments for all residents to hear.

Despite claiming to be bankrupt, Lennon was in Tenerife for much of September and October. While there he worked on the second instalment of his autobiography, which is due to be released in early 2022. He also attended a fitness camp and later claimed that he used the time to get “clean”, a possible reference to his well-documented drug problems.

Oh Tommy, Tommy …?

For someone who made his name organising demonstrations, Lennon only appeared sporadically in public during 2021. His only major outing in the UK was attending a Solidarity with Israel demonstration in London during May, for which he was widely criticised. Meanwhile in October he travelled to Dresden, Germany, to address a PEGIDA demonstration. His speech revealed just how conspiratorial he has become, talking at length about a supposed globalist plot to usher in a “New World Order”.

While in Germany Lennon met Jason Miller, the CEO of the new social media platform GETTR. He was joined at the meeting in Berlin by PEGIDA organisers Lutz Backman and Siegfried Daebritz. Since then, Lennon has adopted GETTR as his main social media outlet and has grown a significant following on it.

As 2021 drew to a close, Britain’s best-known far-right agitator was keen to draw a line under another damaging year and began to plot his return to public activism. For some years he had been working on a documentary series, “The Rape of Britain”, about on-street grooming by gangs. The project had previously appeared to have ground to a halt, but was resurrected by Lennon in the autumn with a focus on the Shropshire town of Telford.

Despite claiming to be bankrupt and having no money, Lennon used a cameraman, a security team, researchers and a private security company to undertake surveillance work. Using GETTR as his principle platform, where he has now accrued over 180,000 followers, he also raised a six figure sum in donations to fund his film project and lavish lifestyle.

On Saturday 29 January 2022, Lennon released his film to 1,500 followers outside Telford police station. The film told the harrowing story of one young woman who had been sexually abused by several men. As well as naming those men, Lennon also accused the now-retired police officer in charge of the overall grooming investigation in the town of corruption and colluding with the groomers to ensure they were not brought to justice.

While Lennon might have been privately disappointed with the turnout – having predicted 10,000 in attendance – even the numbers he did achieve reinforced his position as the most prominent far-right activist in the UK. His film has been watched, or at least opened, several hundred thousand times on social media. More importantly for Lennon though, he has successfully used it to raise even more money. Whether he, and his ex-wife who fronts up the company through which he operates, can keep it out of the reach of the insolvency practitioners investigating his bankruptcy, remains to be seen.

Building an alternative media biz

Stephen Lennon now claims to be working for Urban Scoop, which says it is a place for “truly independent, autonomous journalism”. Also working for Urban Scoop is one of -Lennon’s most trusted lieutenants, Danny Tommo (real name: Daniel Thomas), Danny Roscoe (real name Scott Tomlin) and cameraman Johnny Wong.

Urban Scoop is, of course, run by Lennon through his (ex-)wife Jenna. It is the trading name of SquareFT, another supposedly independent media company for which Jenna Lennon is the sole director. Donations to both Urban Scoop and SquareFT go into the same bank account operating out of a business address in Luton.

Following on from the release of his “Rape of Britain” film, Lennon is promising to produce several more films about Telford, before potentially moving on to focus on other areas of the country.

There are also plans to release his documentary about the Jamal Hijazi case, which could see him break an injunction and, if so, return to prison. He has also promised to release a new book, which will tell the story of his life since his previous work, Enemy of the State, came out in December 2015. However, with the proceeds of this book likely to be seized in order to repay his debts, the Spring launch might be delayed further.

While his financial and legal woes will continue to hinder him, 2022 is likely to be one of Stephen Lennon’s busiest years for some time. Many of his former supporters and much of the wider far right vocally dislike him, but he still has the ability to cause widespread disturbances, plus his myopic focus on on-street grooming by Muslim men will likely dangerously heighten community tensions in numerous cities across the country – while fundraising will continue off the back of each new “revelation” and each new project.

Meanwhile, Lennon has already (and repeatedly) stated that he expects to be arrested and sent to prison again this year: knowing him, he has already factored that in to his fundraising plans, and previous periods of incarceration have certainly proved highly lucrative for the anti-Muslim agitator.


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