EDL founder Tommy Robinson has handed over the reins of an anti-Islamist protest group to a former Luton South parliamentary candidate.
Paul Weston was unveiled as Pegida UK’s new leader during a meeting at The Cuckoo, Toddington, on Monday.
In December Lutonian Robinson, real name Stephen Lennon, announced that he would front the group when it protests in Birmingham on February 6.
However control has now been handed over to Paul Weston, who mustered just 158 votes in May 2015 when he stood for election with his own protest party, Liberty GB.
During his victory speech, Luton South MP Gavin Shuker referred to Mr Weston by declaring: “There is no place for racism and fascism in our town.”
On Monday’s announcement, Mr Weston said: “I’m determined to work to protect the future of all children in Britain, and to tackle hatred, radicalism and extremism.
“PEGIDA will bring together Britain and unite us against hate.”
Pegida– which stands for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West– is a movement which was born in east Germany and regularly demonstrates in Dresden.
It claims to be opposed to radicalism and “preachers of hate” and has called for stricter immigration laws in Germany.
Critics counter that Pegida is xenophobic and community leaders in Birmingham have said that the group’s planned demonstration in February is “based on prejudice, intolerance and hate.”
Speaking to our sister paper, the Herald & Post, last month, Robinson admitted that Pegida may choose to demonstrate in Luton in the future,
He said: “I wouldn’t rule it out at all... Luton still faces a lot of the same problems as it did five years ago.”