Burnley community leaders voice concerns over visit of Tommy Robinson
The Bishop of Burnley and the borough's MP are among a group of community leaders who have signed a statement voicing their concerns over the European election campaign visit of far-right activist Tommy Robinson on Tuesday.
The Rt Rev. Philip North and Julie Cooper MP are two of 14 signatories on a 'Burnley and Padiham Community statement' which has also been supported by leaders of the local Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Burnley and Padiham Independents and Green parties, union officials and other community organisation chiefs in the town.
The statement reads: "We want to make this statement about Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as 'Tommy Robinson'. Together, on behalf of our community, we felt it necessary to speak out against his visit. We are firm in our beliefs that violence and racism have no place in our political discourse.
"Burnley and Padiham are proud towns. They are our communities. They are towns that reject hate and work tirelessly for the common good. They are communities with a bright future.
"We have established and thriving Pakistani, Bangladeshi, South Asian and Eastern European communities, living and working here. If we were to welcome this man we’d be dismissing the valued contribution they have made to the area.
"We call upon our communities to reject the politics of division and hate. Yaxley-Lennon’s far-right political views are not welcome in our great towns."
Mr Robinson, who is a former leader of the English Defence League, is standing as an Independent candidate in Thursday's European Parliament elections.
Mr Robinson has stated to supporters in a campaign letter: “The election on 23rd May is how we fight back. Put me right inside the EU and they won’t know what hit them. They’ll long for the days when it was just Nigel Farage."