A public dispute between Tommy Robinson and the English Defence League (EDL) has broken out over arrangements to commemorate the man who died while serving a jail sentence for daubing a mosque door with bacon.
Robinson, who led the EDL between 2009 and 2013, announced yesterday (22 January) that he wished to organise a march in Bristol "under the banner of the EDL" for Kevin Crehan, who died on 27 December. Crehan was serving a 12 month sentence for placing rashers of bacon on the doors of a Bristol mosque.
Within hours an EDL statement poured cold water on the proposal. The organisation stated that they would not be co-ordinating a march for Crehan but would instead be attending a separate march organised by another activist group in the capacity of "guests".
Robinson wrote on Twitter: "I'm going to organise a march in Bristol in memory of #kevincrehan we can march to the mosque in protest of his ridiculous prison sentence. As Kevin loved the EDL it's only right that the march should be under the banner of the EDL."
Robinson left the EDL in 2013 to join counter-extremism think tank Quilliam. He has since left Quilliam to establish Pegida UK – an offshoot of a German movement that promotes nationalism while confronting Islamic extremism and the perceived Islamisation of Europe.
Robinson has previously stated that he wants Pegida UK to be free of the "football culture" associated with the EDL. He told the BBC that "after going out to Germany, I felt ashamed of the way we'd conducted ourselves as Englishmen."
His proposal to again join forces with the EDL may have been seen as an olive branch by some although Robinson stated that it was because of Crehan's devotion to the the organisation. Regardless of his motive, the EDL were clear that they would not be accepting the offer to collaborate with their former leader.
The statement said: "There is no truth in the rumours that the English Defence League will be working alongside Tommy Robinson to arrange a demo in memory of Bunny [Crehan]...
This statement is to make things clear, Tommy is not rejoining the organisation, nor are we planning any separate events or demos in Bristol."
Crehan, 35, died in HMP Bristol while serving the sentence for racially-aggravated public disorder. His death is not being treated as suspicious though an investigation is underway to ascertain its cause.
In January 2016 he was convicted with three others for racially abusing staff and placing bacon rashers on the door of the Jamal Mosque in Totterdown.