Tommy Robinson has been a prominent figure in the news over the past few months. His controversial anti-Islam ideology has proven popular with the working class who feel that multiculturism has gone too far. Tommy has many influential and well-known supporters; including UKIP leader Gerard Batten MEP. However, one of his wealthiest support is UKIP Peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch. Lord Pearson invited Tommy to the House of Lords for lunch after the court hearing at the Old Bailey in mid-October. Lord Pearson has never been a household name, but his wealth and influence could be far more important for Tommy’s campaign and career than many people realise.
Who is he?
Malcom Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch is a Peer who sits in the House of Lords, the UK’s upper chamber in their parliament. He was born in Devizes, and went on to study at the infamous school Eton College. The Baron was made a life peer in 1990 and sat as a Conservative, but was expelled from the party when he and two other Tory peers endorsed UKIP during the 2004 European Parliament elections. Pearson was involved in international insurance until he stepped down amid becoming UKIP leader.
Pearson announced his candidacy for the role of UKIP leader in the 2009 leadership election after Nigel Farage MEP resigned. He won the election and subsequently led the party into the 2010 general election. However, there was controversy over his lack of basic leadership qualities; for example in one interview he was criticised for barely knowing his own party’s manifesto pledges. There were divisive policies in the manifesto; including banning the burqa in public, and calling for the end to the “Islamism of Britain”. UKIP fielded a remarkable 558 candidates in the 2010 General Election, but only gained 3.1% of the vote, which was a disappointment in comparison to their 16% the year before in the 2009 European Parliament elections. As a result of the election failure, Lord Pearson resigned and Nigel Farage MEP once again become leader.
Lord Pearson was involved in the UK parliament expenses scandal in 2009-10. The Daily Telegraph revealed that he had claimed around £120,000 in parliamentary expenses over six years. This was ironic as during the General Election campaign he had spoken out against how there is a deep disconnect between the working class and the political elite.
Views on Islam:
In 2013, Lord Pearson made comments about Islam saying “We see Sharia law running de facto in our land and we see a birth rate which is several times ours”. This quote as well as other comments were criticised from multiple people and organisations, including the Minister of State for Faith and Communities. A year later, Lord Pearson took part in the BBC debate on “What Faith in our schools?” and said “Given all that is happening in Africa as well, why do the government go on intoning that Islam is a religion of peace?”, these comments yet again caused outrage. The life peer has also attacked the Quran; arguing that there is violence in the holy book which shows how dangerous the ideology is. Lord Pearson has spoken against the Islamic ideology multiple times in the House of Lords chamber. Recently, he has endorsed the campaign and views of political commentator Tommy Robinson, and has taken part in interviews with Canadian political organisation “Rebel Media”.