Yesterday, the leader of the English Defence League appeared in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with possession of a false identity document with improper intention (contrary to Section Identity Documents Act 2010). He has been remanded in custody and will remain incarcerated until January 2013 when he will appear at Southwark Crown Court. It is believed that Tommy entered the USA illegally last month to speak at an event in New York on September 11th. Deputy leader Kevin Carroll, who is also standing for the British Freedom Party in the upcoming PCC elections in Bedfordshire, has assumed Tommy’s leadership duties. As might be expected the EDL have condemned what they are calling “political policing” and have started a campaign to ‘Free Tommy’. Claiming that he may face extradition to the USA and that he has been denied legal representation they have launched an appeal for funds.
His remand has compounded what has been an extremely turbulent few weeks for both him and the EDL. Saturday saw the arrest of 53 supporters, including Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, near London for suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance. All of those arrested have been banned from attending this weekends high profile demonstration in Walthamstow meaning that much of the EDL’s leadership will now be absent. The British Freedom party have been quick to state that the arrest will not affect Carroll’s bid to become a PCC but any criminal conviction that resulted would rule him out. In addition, Tommy has also been arrested for an alleged assault on Sayful Islam in Luton.
His incarceration and recent arrests are just the latest in an ever growing series of run-ins with the police. It is possible that the ever-increasing list of court appearances influenced his recent decision to resign from the British Freedom Party. With his cousin and EDL deputy leader Kevin Carroll standing as a Crime Commissioner in Bedfordshire for the BFP, it is clear that such headlines would be most unwelcome. Whether Tommy was pushed or left of his own account remains unclear but his increasingly erratic behavior must have been of concern to Paul Weston and the rest of the BFP leadership.