Tommy Robinson to advise UKIP leader Gerard Batten on prison reform and rape gangs
Tommy Robinson has been appointed as an adviser to Ukip leader Gerard Batten on rape gangs and prison reform.
Mr Batten said he had taken on the controversial former English Defence League leader due to his “great knowledge” on the subjects.
Mr Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – is a prominent anti-Islam activist who was sentenced to 13 months for contempt of court earlier this year after he filmed members of a grooming case during the trial.
The case was eventually quashed but has now been referred to the attorney general for review.
Ahead of the appointment, Mr Batten began the process to have Mr Robinson made a member of Ukip – a move which has been resisted by the party’s national executive due to his links with the far-right.
Under party rules, former members of the EDL are banned from joining.
In a statement, Mr Batten said: “I have appointed Tommy Robinson to be a personal special adviser on two subjects which he has great knowledge.
“It is not necessary for him to be a party member in order to assist me in this role and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Mr Batten had previously tried to persuade Mr Robinson, who he described as a “tremendously brave man”, to join the party.
In October, he said: “He’s done a lot of things that I’m happy to say I don’t condone, I don’t approve of.”
In 2009, Mr Robinson was convicted after assaulting an off-duty police officer.
The right-wing activists also has convictions for mortgage fraud, as well as public order and drugs offences.
His appointment as an adviser to the Ukip leader is likely to infuriate swathes of party members who have become increasingly concerned by its lurch to the right.
In September one of the party’s MEPs, Lord Darmouth, quit the party accusing Mr Batten of moving the party “further and further to the right”.
He blamed him for “hijacking” UKIP and for associating it with “outlandish people and extreme right-wing groups.”