Steve Bannon calls for Tommy Robinson to be released from prison

Ex-Trump strategist tells LBC radio he doesn’t think jailed far-right leader is ‘a bad guy’

Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, has defended the jailed far-right leader Tommy Robinson, saying that he didn’t think he was “a bad guy” and that “he’s got to be released from prison”.

Bannon’s remarks came during an interview with LBC radio’s political editor, Theo Usherwood.

In response to Bannon’s comments about Robinson, Usherwood said: “But he broke the law!” To which Bannon replied: “A lot of people would say that law is very restrictive.”

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court after “breaching the peace” during a grooming trial. The English Defence League founder had broadcast an hour-long video on Facebook of men entering Leeds crown court. In the video he made comments that risked causing a trial to collapse.

The politician-turned-presenter Nigel Farage was also there during the LBC interview and attempted to move the conversation along. He ended the row by saying: “I take the view as well that Tommy broke the law.”

Bannon to me off-air: "Fuck you. Don't you fucking say you're calling me out. You fucking liberal elite. Tommy Robinson is the backbone of this country."

— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) July 15, 2018

After the interview, Usherwood claimed on Twitter that Bannon said to him off-air: “Fuck you. Don’t you fucking say you’re calling me out. You fucking liberal elite. Tommy Robinson is the backbone of this country.”

In the same interview, Bannon told listeners they were “going to have to fight to take your country back”.

The former strategist to the US president told Farage: “If I was in middle England and said this wasn’t what I voted for I would rise up and make sure the guys in parliament knew it.”

He added: “Whether it’s Italy, France, England, or the United States, if we quit, they’re going to be in control.”

When asked whether it was a call to arms, he said: “Absolutely.”

In an interview in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday, Bannon said now was the time for Boris Johnson to challenge Theresa May for her job.

His comments came after Trump directly criticised May’s Brexit strategy and heaped praise on Johnson in an interview with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper.

Bannon was Trump’s 2016 campaign chair and chief White House strategist before leaving the administration last August. His relationship with Trump was adversely affected by the publication of a book, for which Bannon was a major source, about the Trump White House by the author Michael Wolff. Since then Bannon has positioned himself again as a leading voice on the US far right.

Contributor

Sarah Marsh

The GuardianTramp

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