English Defence League searching for its new Tommy Robinson PIC: IBTimes UK
English Defence League searching for its new Tommy Robinson PIC: IBTimes UK

The English Defence League is looking for a "new Tommy Robinson" to be the public face of the anti-Islamic group.

A search is under way to find somebody to step in to the shoes of the founder of the group who resigned last month.

The new figurehead of the EDL will have far less power than that wielded by Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon.

That is because a panel of regional organisers (ROs) has grabbed control of the EDL and the new leader's role will be to be speak for them publicly.

Chairman of the ROs, Tim Ablitt, insisted that there would be no return to the model adopted by Lennon and deputy leader Kevin Carroll.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Ablitt said: "There will never be another leadership like Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll. We are looking for a new figure and there are some names coming out of the local divisions."

Robinson made an impact in the popular media and garnered publicity for the EDL by appearing on BBC TV shows such as Newsnight. With him gone it is possible that the group will slide in to irrelevance or else become even more unpalatable to mainstream voters.

Ablitt strongly denied that would happen: "It's absolute rubbish. Our numbers are growing. There were a lot of people who did not like Robinson's tactics and some of those are coming back.

"The EDL will not go further to the right. Wait until the next terrorist attack and see then if the EDL has no voice."

He claimed that he did not want to be the group's public face after he was given the role of chairman at a meeting of regional organisers. He got death threats following the appointment.

"I don't want it - my area is more of a back room role," said Ablitt.

A new figurehead for the EDL is expected to announced around the turn of the year.