Claire Fox

British libertarian writer and politician

The Right Honourable
The Baroness Fox of Buckley
Baroness Claire Fox.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Incumbent
Assumed office
8 October 2020
Life Peerage
Member of the European Parliament
for North West England
In office
2 July 2019 – 31 January 2020
Preceded byPaul Nuttall
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born
Claire Regina Fox

(1960-06-05) 5 June 1960 (age 62)
Barton-upon-Irwell, Lancashire, England
Political partyIndependent (1997–2019; 2020–present)
Other political
affiliations
Brexit (2019–2020)
Revolutionary Communist (before 1997)
RelationsFiona Fox (sister)
Alma materUniversity of Warwick
University of Greenwich
OccupationWriter and broadcaster
Known forDirector and founder of Institute of Ideas

Claire Regina Fox, Baroness Fox of Buckley (born 5 June 1960), is a British writer, journalist, lecturer and politician who sits in the House of Lords as a non-affiliated life peer. She is the director and founder of the think tank Academy of Ideas.

A lifelong Eurosceptic, she was previously a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party but later began identifying as a libertarian. She became a registered supporter of the Brexit Party shortly after its formation and was elected as an MEP in the 2019 European Parliament election. She was nominated for a peerage by the Boris Johnson-led Conservative government in 2020,[1] despite her past opposition to the existence of the House of Lords.[2]

Early life and career

Fox was born in 1960 to Irish Catholic parents, John Fox and Maura Cleary.[3] She grew up in Buckley, Wales.[4][non-primary source needed] 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.[3] She later gained a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.[5] From 1981 to 1987, she was a mental health social worker. She was later an English Language and Literature lecturer at Thurrock Technical College from 1987 to 1990 and at West Herts College from 1992 to 1999.[6]

Revolutionary Communist Party

Fox joined the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) as a student at the University of Warwick.[7] 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,[8] which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide.[3] In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting that evidence of the genocide was faked.[9]

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 and promoting libertarianism.[10][11] Author and environmental activist George Monbiot has argued these groups are part of the "pro-corporate libertarian right".[12]

Media career

After founding the Institute of Ideas, Fox became a guest panellist on BBC Radio 4 programme The Moral Maze and appeared as a panellist on BBC One's political television programme Question Time.[6][13] She was criticised in The Guardian for rejecting multiculturalism as divisive and for her libertarian beliefs in the desirability of minimal governmental control and free speech in all contexts.[3] She was also accused in 2005 of supporting "Gary Glitter's right to download child porn".[3]

In 2015, Fox was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.[14] Fox wrote the book I Find That Offensive! in 2016.[15]

Return to politics

In April 2019, Fox became a registered supporter of the Brexit Party.[16] She was in the first position in the list for the Brexit Party in the North West England constituency at the 2019 European Parliament election.[17] Her selection was criticised by the father of murdered schoolboy Tim Parry for her past support for the Provisional Irish Republican Army and for the RCP's defence of the 1993 IRA Warrington bombings, which had killed his son within the North West England constituency.[18][19] Another candidate for the Brexit Party, Sally Bate, resigned, citing Fox's "ambiguous position" on IRA violence.[20] A Brexit Party spokesperson commented on the criticism of Fox: "It's a desperate attempt to cause trouble".[21] Fox was subsequently elected to the European Parliament.[22]

After standing down as an MEP when the United Kingdom left the EU on 31 January 2020, Fox was nominated for a peerage in July of that year. She sits as a non-affiliated peer.[23] The Lord Caine, a long-serving Conservative Party adviser on Northern Ireland, criticised the decision, as did victims of IRA terror attacks.[24] She previously claimed to be against the existence of the House of Lords, and congratulated Liberal Democrats for not taking up peerages in a 2015 tweet.[25][26] She was created The Baroness Fox of Buckley on 14 September[27] and was introduced to the Lords on 8 October 2020.[28] On 7 June 2022, Fox reiterated her stance against the existence of the House of Lords, and claimed her decision to accept a life peerage as "pragmatic", resting on her belief such a position would provide a "platform" to enact political "change".[29]

On 9 November 2020, speaking in the Lords in favour of the Internal Market Bill, Fox described international law as "a supranational instrument for undermining national sovereignty" and said that, rather than breaking the law, the UK government were making the law.[30][31][32]

On 6 June 2022, she criticized the decision of Cineworld to cancel screenings of the movie The Lady of Heaven as a sign of a creeping extra-parliamentary blasphemy law. She likened it to cancel culture, calling it a disaster for the arts, dangerous for free speech and a lesson to those who don't see a threat in identity politics.[33]

Personal life

Fox is the elder sister of British writer Fiona Fox and Gemma Fox.[34] Fiona was also a Living Marxism contributor and later became director of the non-profit organisation Science Media Centre.[12][35]

References

  1. ^ Murphy, Simon; Waterson, Jim (31 July 2020). "Evgeny Lebedev, Jo Johnson and Ian Botham among 36 peerage nominations". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 April 2021 – via www.theguardian.com.
  2. ^ Urwin, Rosamund (2 August 2020). "Brexit peer Claire Fox still wants to abolish Lords". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Jeffries, Stuart (19 November 2005). "Infamy's child – Stuart Jeffries finds Claire Fox still takes joy in riling the liberal left". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  4. ^ Fox, Claire [@Fox_Claire] (30 November 2019). "I was brought up in Buckley. Still think of it as home. Can't believe @brexitparty_uk having an event there on Monday am and I will be speaking. I might get a bit emotional! Come along if you are in North Wales/Chester area" (Tweet). Retrieved 31 July 2020 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ "Claire Fox: 'I'm not sectarian enough to say "I'm not going to say that because he's a Tory"'". The New Statesman: 2015 General Election Guide. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The Moral Maze – Claire Fox". The Moral Maze. BBC. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  7. ^ Turner, Jenny (8 July 2010). "Who Are They? – Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of Ideas". London Review of Books. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  8. ^ Pallister, David (8 July 2000). "Life after Living Marxism: Fighting for freedom – to offend, outrage and question everything". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Outfoxing Nigel". Private Eye. No. 1495. 3 May 2019. p. 10. 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.
  10. ^ Walker, Peter (23 April 2019). "Former communist standing as MEP for Farage's Brexit party". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  11. ^ Staunton, Denis (23 April 2019). "Farage in pole position for European Parliament elections". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "George Monbiot: Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  13. ^ "BBC ONE Question Time guests for 15 January 2004". BBC. Retrieved 25 November 2016. 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.
  14. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2015: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  15. ^ Fox, Claire (2016). I Find That Offensive!. London: Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1-849-54981-3.
  16. ^ Mason, Rowena (18 April 2019). "Nigel Farage has near-total control of Brexit party, constitution suggests". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "European Parliament (UK) elections – North West region". whocanivotefor.co.uk. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Brexit Party candidate slammed as 'absolutely disgraceful' over IRA bombing views". Warrington Guardian. 30 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Brexit Party candidate criticised for past IRA defence". BBC News. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  20. ^ "IRA row: Warrington Brexit MEP candidate quits". BBC News. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Nigel Farage's Brexit Party candidate questioned over past IRA views". The Belfast Telegraph. 30 April 2019.
  22. ^ "European elections 2019: Brexit Party wins three North West seats". BBC News. 27 May 2019.
  23. ^ Political Peerages 2020 Gov.uk
  24. ^ Devenport, Mark (22 August 2020). "Claire Fox: From IRA comments controversy to a peerage". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  25. ^ Anglesey, Steve (7 August 2020). "BREXITEERS OF THE WEEK: Farage ally who said it took 'democratic principle' to turn down peerage set to join Lords". The New European. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  26. ^ Fox, Claire (15 May 2020). "Impressively (&sort of touching) lib-dem-y Rediscovery of democratic principles in turning down Lords 4 unelected". Twitter. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  27. ^ "Baroness Fox of Buckley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Introduction: Baroness Fox of Buckley". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Lords. 8 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Cross Question with Iain Dale - Podcast". Global Player. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  30. ^ "United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – Monday 9 November 2020 – Hansard". hansard.parliament.uk.
  31. ^ "Brexiteer Lord accidentally votes against Internal Market Bill she supports". The National. 10 November 2020.
  32. ^ "Brexit news: Claire Fox savages Remainer Lords 'This memory loss is DOUBLE standards!'". www.express.co.uk. 9 November 2020.
  33. ^ Pidd, Helen; Murray, Jessica; Pulverwork, Andrew (7 June 2022). "UK cinema chain cancels screenings of 'blasphemous' film after protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  34. ^ "Claire and Fiona Fox, sisters", The Sunday Times (May 2006) – An interview with Claire and Fiona Fox
  35. ^ Callaway, E. (2013). "Science media: Centre of attention: Fiona Fox and her Science Media Centre are determined to improve Britain's press. Now the model is spreading around the world". Nature. 499 (7457): 142–144. doi:10.1038/499142a. PMID 23846643.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Claire Fox.
  • House of Lords: Baroness Fox of Buckley
  • Institute of Ideas biography Archived 20 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  • Claire Fox on Twitter
  • Claire Fox on LinkedIn
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