Claire Fox

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The Baroness Fox of Buckley
Claire Fox of Moral Maze (cropped).png
Fox in 2013
Member of the European Parliament
for North West England
In office
2 July 2019 – 31 January 2020
Preceded byPaul Nuttall
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
14 September 2020
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born
Claire Regina Fox

(1960-06-05) 5 June 1960 (age 60)
Barton-upon-Irwell, Lancashire, England
CitizenshipIrish
British
NationalityBritish
Political partyBrexit (since 2019)
Other political
affiliations
Independent (1997–2019)
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 and politician who served as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the North West England constituency from 2019 to 2020. She is the director and founder of the Institute of Ideas think tank.

Raised in Flintshire, Wales, Fox attended St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School. After graduating from the University of Warwick and gaining a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education, she worked as a mental health social worker and an English Language and Literature lecturer at Thurrock Technical College and West Herts College.

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 successfully ran on its behalf in the 2019 European Parliament election. She was nominated for a peerage in July 2020 despite past opposition to the authority of the House of Lords.

Early life and career[edit]

Fox was born in 1960 to Irish Catholic parents John Fox and Maura Cleary.[1] She grew up in Buckley, Wales.[2] 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.[1] She later gained a Professional Graduate Certificate in Education.[3] 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.[4]

Revolutionary Communist Party[edit]

Fox joined the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) as a student at the University of Warwick.[5] 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,[6] which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide.[1] In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting evidence of the genocide was faked.[7]

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 both promoting libertarianism.[8][9] Author and environmental activist George Monbiot has argued these groups are part of the "pro-corporate libertarian right".[10]

Media career[edit]

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.[4][11] She was criticised in The Guardian for rejecting multiculturalism as divisive and her libertarian beliefs in the desirability of minimal governmental control and support for free speech in all contexts.[1] She was also accused of "supporting Gary Glitter's right to download child porn", something of which she later said "I feel stupid for saying it. Paedophilia is disgusting".[1][12][13]

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[edit]

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 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" about 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 serve in 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 will sit as a non-affiliated peer.[23] 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.[24][25] She was created Baroness Fox of Buckley on 14 September.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Fox is the elder sister of Fiona Fox and Gemma Fox.[27] Fiona was also a Living Marxism contributor and later became director of the non-profit organisation Science Media Centre.[10][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Fox, Claire [@Fox_Claire] (30 November 2019). "I was brought up in Buckley. Still think of it as home. Can't beleive @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.[non-primary source needed]
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ a b "The Moral Maze – Claire Fox". The Moral Maze. BBC. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  5. ^ Turner, Jenny (8 July 2010). "Who Are They? – Jenny Turner reports from the Battle of Ideas". London Review of Books. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  6. ^ Pallister, David (8 July 2000). "Life after Living Marxism: Fighting for freedom – to offend, outrage and question everything". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ Walker, Peter (23 April 2019). "Former communist standing as MEP for Farage's Brexit party". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 May 2019.
  9. ^ Staunton, Denis (23 April 2019). "Farage in pole position for European Parliament elections". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  10. ^ a b Monbiot, George (9 December 2003). "George Monbiot: Invasion of the entryists". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "London's 100 top movers and shakers 2006". Time Out London.
  13. ^ Llewellyn Smith, Julia (28 April 2019). "The Brexit Party's Claire Fox on why she's fighting for Farage". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  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. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Brexit Party candidate slammed as 'absolutely disgraceful' over IRA bombing views". Warrington Guardian.
  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.
  22. ^ "European elections 2019: Brexit Party wins three North West seats". BBC News. 27 May 2019.
  23. ^ Political Peerages 2020 Gov.uk
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Baroness Fox of Buckley". UK Parliament. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  27. ^ "Claire and Fiona Fox, sisters", The Sunday Times (May 2006) – An interview with Claire and Fiona Fox
  28. ^ 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. doi:10.1038/499142a.

External links[edit]

Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
The Baroness Hoey
Ladies Succeeded by
The Baroness Fleet