Claire Fox in 2013
|Member of the European Parliament|
for North West England
2 July 2019 - 31 January 2020
Claire Regina Fox
5 June 1960
Barton-upon-Irwell, Lancashire, England
|Political party||Brexit (since 2019)|
Revolutionary Communist (before 1997)
|Relations||Fiona Fox (sister)|
|Alma mater||University of Warwick|
University of Greenwich
|Occupation||Writer and broadcaster|
|Known for||Director and founder of Institute of Ideas|
Claire Regina Fox (born 5 June 1960) is a British libertarian writer and politician. She is the director and founder of the think tank the Institute of Ideas, a trading name of the Academy of Ideas. She was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, later became a registered supporter of the Brexit Party, and won a seat for the party in the North West England constituency at the 2019 European Parliament election. She remained in this role until the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020.
After attending St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Flint, she studied at the University of Warwick where she graduated with a lower second class degree (2:2) in English and American Literature. She gained a PGCE from Thames Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich) in 1992.
Fox was a mental health social worker (1981-1987). She was an English Language and Literature lecturer at Thurrock Technical College (1987-1990) and at West Herts College (1992-1999). Fox wrote the book I Find That Offensive! in 2016.
Fox joined the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) as a student at the University of Warwick. For the next twenty years, she was one of the RCP's core activists and organisers. She became co-publisher of its magazine Living Marxism, which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide. In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting evidence of the genocide was faked.
Fox stayed with her ex-RCP members when the group transformed itself in the early 2000s into a network around the web magazine Spiked Online and the Institute of Ideas, both based in the former RCP offices. Author and environmental activist George Monbiot has argued these groups are part of the "pro-corporate libertarian right".
In April 2019, Fox was criticised by the Morning Star, a socialist daily, and by Robert Griffiths, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain, for her view that the government of the United Kingdom should not ban people from watching child porn or jihadi terrorist videos. Fox has been criticised for her libertarian belief in the desirability of minimal governmental control and support of free speech in all contexts. She has been accused of "supporting Gary Glitter's right to download child porn", something of which she says: "I feel stupid for saying [...] paedophilia is disgusting".
Fox was also criticised, by the father of murdered schoolboy Tim Parry amongst others, for her past support for the Provisional Irish Republican Army. A Brexit Party spokesperson commented on the criticism of their candidate Fox: "It's a desperate attempt to cause trouble".
Fox was in the first position in the list for the Brexit Party in the North West England constituency at the 2019 European Parliament election. The candidacy was announced on 23 April 2019. Her selection was criticised by the father of Tim Parry due to her past comments in defence of the 1993 IRA Warrington bomb attacks, which had killed his son, within the North West England constituency. Another candidate for the Brexit Party, Sally Bate, resigned, citing Fox's "ambiguous position" about IRA violence. Fox was subsequently elected to serve in the European Parliament.
Last year the journalists who run London's Frontline Club considered inviting Fox to speak. Vulliamy insisted she apologise to the camp victims first, but Fox refused.
The panellists are: David Miliband MP, Minister for Schools; George Osborne MP, Shadow Treasury Minister; Baroness Williams, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords; Dr David Starkey, Historian and Broadcaster; and Claire Fox, Director of the Institute of Ideas.