Tommy Robinson, who helped set up the English Defence League in Luton in 2009, said he no longer felt that street demonstrations were "productive".
The EDL started in response to a demonstration by Muslim extremists as soldiers marched through Luton.
The group has become infamous for street protests across the country, often resulting in violence as its members clashed with opposing groups such as Unite Against Fascism.
Mr Robinson said: "I recognise that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive.
"I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but with better, democratic ideas.”
More top news
Winds will strengthen overnight and showery outbreaks of rain will spread in from the west.
The redevelopment of a stately home in Northamptonshire that was destroyed by fire is causing concern in the neighbouring village.
The Chancellor's budget has pledged more spending on transport and technology in the East of England with a big focus on Cambridge.