The Board of Deputies has condemned UKIP leader Gerard Batten for appointing English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform.
The Board tweeted: “Today’s revelation, that UKIP leader Gerard Batten has hired Tommy Robinson as an advisor, is a disgrace. This isn’t the first time we’ve noted UKIP’s association with the far-right. They need to change course immediately.”
It follows a tweet in October, when the Board said: “UKIP should be ashamed. Bringing an anti-Muslim propagandist into the heart of Britain’s democracy is utterly wrong.”
Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court, which sparked a series of #freeTommy protests.
His conviction was later quashed over procedural concerns and the case has now been referred to the attorney general.
Robinson had previously been sentenced to 18 months in jail in January 2014 for mortgage fraud and for 10 months in January 2013 for a passport offence.
Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage believes Robinson’s appointment is a step too far. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday that under his leadership, the party had talked about mass immigration and extreme forms of Islam, but “as a non-racist, non-sectarian party”.
However, he added: “This blows a hole in all of that.”
Farage is urging a vote of no confidence in Batten as leader. “We can have one last go at getting rid of somebody who as leader is dragging us in a shameful direction,” he said.
Today's revelation, that UKIP leader Gerard Batten has hired Tommy Robinson as an advisor, is a disgrace. This isn't the first time we've noted UKIP's association with the far-right. They need to change course immediately. https://t.co/BojUeLHnyT
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) November 23, 2018