English Defence League leader jailed for using false passport
New Europe by Andy Carling | Monday, 7 January 2013 | Click here for original article
The leader of the English Defence League has been jailed for 10 months for using a false passport to enter the United States illegally.
The far right campaigner against Islam and immigration used a passport in the name of Andrew McMaster to fly to the US. He attempted to return to the UK using his own passport, which bears the name Paul Harris.
Sentancing him, Judge Alistair McCreath said, "I am going to sentence you under the name of Stephen Lennon although I suspect that is not actually your true name, in the sense that it is not the name that appears on your passport."
The Judge continued, "You knew that because you tried before and you had not got in, and you knew the reason for that - because, rightly or wrongly, the US authorities do not welcome people in their country who have convictions of the kind that you have. With that full knowledge, you equipped yourself with a passport. I am told that it was given you by way of a loan from your friend Andrew McMaster, to which you bore, I am told, some resemblance."
Lennon has convictions for assauly, drugs and public order offences. He admitted the charge.
In July last year, Lennon gained access to the European Parliament by using false documents. He was addressing a group of people who referred to themselves as 'Breivik's mentors' who held a clandestine meeting, where it was alleged that they raised funds.
The parliament's authorities have been asked by New Europe if they reported the incident to the Belgian authorities, but have not responded.
Richard Howitt, the UK MEP who represents Lennon's home town of Luton and has been a target of harrasment by the far right fanatics told New Europe, "I'm not at all surprised that he has been found guilty as he apparantly did the same thing in the European Parliament. He seems to thinnk that he is above the law and I can only hope that he reflects on his behaviour over the next ten months."
The English Defence League has virtually collapsed. Their final downfall was trying to hold an unanounced demonstration outside a mosque in London by hiding in furniture vans. However, the group were unable to keep their plan from the police, who swppoed on the group and arrested them on the way to the demonstration, in transit last October.
Lennon was held in prison since then. While on remand, the League has splintered into several competing small factions. Demonstrations outside the prison where only a handful turned up.
However, there are signs that as the group fractures, the extreme edge are talking more openly about using violence.
Speaking for anti-racism group, Hope Not Hate, Matthew Collins, a former far right extremist who now campaigns for tolerance said, "We think it is a start. Although we would like this government to take the threat that Lennon and his followers pose a lot more seriously.