PayPal has told the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson it will no longer process payments on his behalf.

The online payments system said its services cannot be used to "promote hate, violence, or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory".

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was banned from Twitter in March and online petitions calling for companies like PayPal to stop processing his payments have gained thousands of signatures.

The far-right figure, who said he had been using the platform to collect donations to fight his legal battles, branded the withdrawal of services "fascism" and said the platform "don't like my opinion and want to silence me".

PayPal said it did not comment on individual cases, but that it carefully reviewed accounts to make sure it they were in line with the company's acceptable use policy.

Image: PayPal has banned other far-right organisations

"We do not take decisions like these lightly, and we work hard to be rigorous and fair-minded when reviewing PayPal accounts," it said.

"Striking the necessary balance between upholding free expression and open dialogue and protecting principles of tolerance, diversity and respect for all people is a challenge that many companies are grappling with today.

"We work hard to achieve the right balance and to ensure that our decisions are values-driven and not political."

The platform has suspended and banned accounts before: after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting it banned Gab, a social media site with a far-right base used by gunman Robert Bowers, and it earlier banned right-wing news outlet InfoWars.

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Robinson said PayPal had frozen his account, which he said included "a lot of money" for 180 days.

He was released from prison in August after the Court of Appeal quashed a contempt of court finding made at Leeds Crown Court. The case has now been referred to the attorney general.

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