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UK Islamophobe slammed after dining in Parliament

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons during a parliament session in London on July 12, 2018. (AFP photo)

The UK Parliament speaker has condemned a move by a member of the House of Lords for inviting a far right Islamophobe figure in Britain for a sumptuous meal in the chamber.

The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said Wednesday that although inviting people to the House of Lords was outside of his remit, but insisted that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, was a “a loathsome, obnoxious, repellent individual” who should have never been invited to the upper chamber.

Robinson, convicted several times for offences including assault, mortgage fraud and travelling on a fake passport, has been known for his fierce campaign against Muslims and immigrants in the UK.

The founder of the far-right group English Defence League is currently being tried for two contempt of the court charges which could see him in prison for around two years.

Robinson was invited by Lord Pearson, a peer of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), to a lunch in the upper house of the British Parliament on Tuesday, hours after a court referred the legal case against the extremist figure to the attorney general.

During Wednesday's Parliament session, Bercow endorsed the view by Stewart Malcolm McDonald, a Scottish National Party lawmaker, who called Robinson a “violent racist thug and fraudster”.

“I share his assessment of the individual concerned – a loathsome, obnoxious, repellent individual, and I make no bones about my view being the same as his on that front,” said Bercow, urging McDonald to write to the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, for advice.

Many believe Robinson’s activity has helped encourage indiscriminate attacks on Muslims and caused a surge in hate crimes in the UK over the past years. Political parties like UKIP, which are known for their anti-establishment policies, have also pandered with people like Robinson in a bid to expand their public support base to include voters from the far-right.

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