Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, had decided to go abroad twice this week: once to Italy - for what he terms “business” - and then, at the end of the week, to go with his family for a holiday on the Balearic island of Ibiza. But his passport was almost at the point of expiry, and so he submitted an application for a renewal, paying for a seven day turnaround. And that is when the fun started.
Lennon’s new passport did not materialise within seven days. And he had surrendered his existing, almost expired passport as part of his application. So he made another application, and paid another fee for seven day delivery, which, to no surprise at all, did not progress his cause at all. At no time, it seems, did he stop and think why there might be a problem with him getting a new passport. So let’s put him straight.
A passport has a ten year validity. So the one Lennon has just surrendered as part of his application was issued in 2009. At that time, he had only one conviction to his name. But since that time, he’s accumulated rather a lot more. Here’s the inventory.
In July 2011, he was sentenced to a 12-month community rehabilitation order, 150 hours of unpaid work and given a three-year football banning order for leading a street brawl with other football hooligans in August 2010.
In September 2011, at Preston Magistrates' Court, Lennon was convicted of assault for headbutting a man in Blackburn on 2 April 2011. In November 2011, he was given a 12-week jail term, suspended for 12 months.
In October 2012, Lennon was arrested and held on the charge of having entered the United States illegally. Lennon pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to using someone else's passport to travel to the United States in September 2012, and was sentenced in January 2013 to 10 months' imprisonment.
In November 2012, Lennon was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by misrepresentation in relation to a mortgage application, along with five other defendants. He pleaded guilty to two charges and in January 2014 was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. The judge described him as the "instigator, if not the architect" of a series of frauds totalling £640,000.
Added to those are the contempt of court convictions Lennon attracted after filming within the precincts of Canterbury Crown Court, and then outside Leeds Combined Courts. And only last week came the news that, after he was caught on camera violently assaulting a football fan before a match in Portugal, there has been an application to have him banned from future England games played abroad.
So his passport application is going to take rather more than seven days to turn round.
He knows his passport gets flagged up. We know that as he videoed (in contravention of the law) an encounter with a UKBA officer at Luton Airport two years ago, where, yes, his passport had been spat out by the system and he had to wait to get through the UK Border - which he and people of similar political persuasion pretend does not exist.
That did not stop Lennon going to the passport office and berating its representative, once more videoing the encounter. He claimed his passport had been stolen - wrong, he surrendered it as part of his application - and demanded to know how he was going to accompany his family to Ibiza. The short answer is that, without a passport, he isn’t.
Stephen Lennon will not get his passport until, at the very earliest, the application for a banning order on his attendance at England away matches is finalised. Then the Home Office may wish to consider whether it places any further restrictions upon him as a result of his criminal record - and especially the passport fraud conviction.
It is entirely in the gift of the Home Office whether to grant a passport - or, in his case, not. He can video all he wants, and complain as much as he wants (see complaints procedure HERE), but he will have to wait. He will not get either of his fees back - and, indeed, his making a second passport application could land him in yet more trouble.
Stephen Lennon is finding that those actions over the past decade have consequences. Like he may not be going to Ibiza. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving chap.
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