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ANTI-RACISTS rejected far-right figure Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s bid to whip up racial hatred in the Cumbrian town of Barrow today.
Having led a convoy into the town, the fascist leader, also known as “Tommy Robinson,” was told to sling his hook by trade unions, councillors and anti-racism campaigners.
Mr Yaxley-Lennon was attempting to exploit reports on Monday of “grooming” in the town.
His plans fell flat when a local family affected by the controversy said that they wanted nothing to do with him and condemned “any form of racial hatred.”
A young Barrow woman who made allegations on social media of grooming by Asian men has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice after a 12-month police investigation in the town found no evidence of grooming.
But on Monday, Mr Yaxley-Lennon drove 256 miles from his home in Luton to head a cavalcade of far-right clowns through Barrow.
He was stopped by police en route and was filmed claiming that he was a journalist and that he had driven from Luton. Despite the coronavirus lockdown, police allowed him to proceed.
When the young woman’s family found out about Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s visit, they said: “We have heard rumours that ‘Tommy Robinson’ is in town.
“We want to make it clear that this has nothing to do with us and we do not want him involved in [the] case.
“We are a peaceful family, who condemn any form of racial hatred.”
Barrow Labour councillor Frank Cassidy saw Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s thugs assembling at a retail car park after a convoy of 17 or 18 cars had paraded up and down the A590.
He said: “There were scores of cars, small business vans, some of them decorated with balloons.
“I was there about 30 minutes. I was concerned that ‘Robinson’ was hijacking the situation and trying to whip up race hate in our town.
“‘Robinson’ had denied that he was coming to Barrow — I think he was frightened, because a year ago he faced resistance from local people. He had a bumpy ride and he didn’t want to face that again.”
Mr Cassidy said that what he was most surprised at was that the police did not arrest Mr Yaxley-Lennon.
“I would have thought that driving up from Luton to Barrow to incite racial hatred does not fall into the category of ‘essential travel’,” he said.
Barrow trades union council secretary Mandy Penellum said it was “to their enormous credit that the family do not want ‘Robinson’s involvement, and that they condemn any form of racial hatred.”
Unite Against Fascism’s Paul Jenkins said: “It is disgraceful that ‘Robinson’ is trying to exploit a sensitive local issue in order to attempt to further his own racist agenda.
“The people of Barrow, Cumbria and the whole north-west rejected ‘Robinson’ and stopped him from becoming a north-west MEP last year.
“We will continue to reject fascists like ‘Robinson’ and to show them they’re not welcome here.”
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