Right wing Members of Congress have invited Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) to a major event in Washington DC. If he’s allowed in, it could net him in the range of £1million. He’d use that massive payday to organise demos and division around the UK.

Some people have contacted HOPE not hate asking a good question: how on earth can anti-Muslim rabble-rouser Stephen Lennon get into the United States next month given that he has a conviction for entering the US illegally in 2012? He had been refused a visa because of his criminal convictions for violence, so travelled on someone else’s passport – a criminal offence for which he got a 10-month prison sentence.

Surely, people have asked, this conviction would render any attempts to re-enter the US next month impossible.

Sadly not.

There are six reasons why Lennon might well be able to speak to US Congress next month:

  1. It is believed that Lennon received a ten-year ban on re-entering the US following his 2013 conviction. (The US authorities can impose 5, 10, 20 or permanent bans). However, the Trump administration has the ability to over-ride these bans if they so wish, giving Lennon the possibility of getting in for his lucrative speaking engagement.
  2. Lennon is being invited to the US by Rep. Paul Gosar, and six other Republican Members of Congress. Gosar, a member of Congress from Arizona, flew to London to speak at one of the “Free Tommy” demos this summer. It would appear that they have made a request to the US administration to lift Lennon’s ban. Will the US authorities ignore the request of these seven congressmen?
  3. Lennon’s trip is being sponsored by the Middle East Forum and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, two leading anti-Muslim think tanks, both with very good political links to the Trump administration. They will be using their links and leverage to get Lennon’s ban lifted.
  4. The Trump administration has strong links to the self-defined “counter-jihad” movement. There were early appointees like Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn and Sebastian Gorka. More recent appointments include National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has close links to Pamela Gellar, and the new chief of staff of the National Security Council, Fred Fleitz, who has a record of trafficking in virulent Muslim hatred. Let’s also not forgot how Trump himself received briefings from Frank Gaffney, and Bridget Gabriel, head of ACT for America, who recently boasted of having monthly meetings with the White House. This is an administration infected with anti-Muslim prejudice and is therefore likely to look more favourably on Lennon’s request to overturn his ban.
  5. The Trump administration have shown their own support for Lennon, especially following his imprisonment for contempt. The British ambassador to the US was lobbied in June by Trump’s ambassador for religious freedoms, Sam Brownback, who demanded the UK government be more sympathetic towards the former EDL leader. Mr Brownback even warned our Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch, that the Trump administration might publicly criticise the UK’s handling of the case. At the same time, Donald Trump Jnr, Trump’s son, personally tweeted out his support for Lennon.
  6. Finally, much could depend on the reaction of the British Government. While the US administration has shown little regard for international opinion and treaties, will they really side with a convicted criminal – someone who has already been caught entering the US illegally – over the wishes of the British Government? The question is though, will the British Government lobby for the US to block Lennon’s visa request? Getting them to do so might be our best way of preventing Lennon pushing his anti-Muslim agenda to a global audience.

Let us be clear, for the reasons outlined above, Stephen Lennon is increasingly confident of getting into the US next month. We all need to do what we can to prevent that from happening. If you haven’t already please sign this petition, and share it on Facebook.