Home Office appoints interim countering extremism commissioner

A new interim lead commissioner has been appointed at the Commission for Countering Extremism following the end of Sara Khan’s three-year tenure.

Apr 1, 2021
By Paul Jacques

Robin Simcox, director of the Counter Extremism Group think-tank, has been appointed for an initial six-month term.

His role will involve working across government and with external partners to advise on the best way to tackle extremism, including the future role of the Commission and how government could further harness innovative thinking within the academic and think-tank sector to tackle the threat.

Prior to founding the UK-based Counter Extremism Group, Mr Simcox served as a research fellow at the renowned Heritage Foundation in Washington DC. A leading expert in the field of extremism, he has testified before US Congress on multiple occasions on issues related to Islamist terrorism.

“Extremism is a scourge that has the potential to impact us all. There can be no place for it in the UK,” said Mr Simcox.

“I hope to be able to translate my experience in the counter-extremism field into recommendations that can help the Government make headway on this key issue.”

Minster for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams, said: “The Government remains committed to tackling extremism and disrupting those who seek to sow hatred and division in our communities and radicalise others.

“The important work of the Commission for Countering Extremism will continue, and I’m delighted Robin Simcox will bring his expertise and innovative thinking to this role.

“I’d also like to thank Sara Khan for her dedication as Commissioner over the past three years and the significant contribution she has made to the Government’s approach to tackling extremism.”

Ms Khan has been appointed by the Prime Minister as Independent Adviser on Social Cohesion and Resilience at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In a letter to the outgoing commissioner, Home Secretary Priti Patel praised Ms Khan’s “hard work and great insight” that has helped shape thinking and policy on “this essential government priority”.

Ms Patel wrote: “Your knowledge on the harms caused by extremism, particularly to vulnerable communities and those who stand up to extremists, has been extremely valuable.”

Ms Khan’s keystone report, Challenging Hateful Extremism, set out a robust approach to tackling extremism and her most recent report, Operating with Impunity, considered the legal powers to tackle extremism.

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