Claire Fox

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Claire Regina Fox, was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party until its dissolution in 1996 and remains a leading associate of its successor, the libertarian anti-environmental LM network. In particular, she founded and leads its largest entity, the Institute of Ideas. [1] She lives in north London, is unmarried and childless, [2] and has two sisters, Gemma Fox, adopted and three years younger, who is a project manager for a women’s centre in Rhyl, north Wales, and Fiona Fox, four years younger, who was also a leading member of the RCP, is also associated with the LM network, and leads the Science Media Centre. [3]

Claire Fox at Sheffield Doc/ Fest 2011
Claire Fox on Question Time 2004
'Claire Foster' AKA Claire Fox as a Revolutionary Communist Party council candidate in Newcastle, as featured in The next step, 2 May 1986, p. 4.[4]

Early years and education

Fox was born on 5th June 1960 in Barton-Upon-Irwell, a suburban area of Eccles in Greater Manchester, to John Fox, who ran a plant-hire business, and Maura Cleary, who was noted for her strength of character. [5] Both came from Irish farming backgrounds [6] and were highly religious. [7]

Brought up in Clywd, North Wales, she was characterised as having a domineering character even as a child. [8] In contrast, Fox recalls 'I was a ballet student for 12 years from the age of 4, and there is no denying that my teachers were unsentimentally critical, used their hands to push my body into shapes and postures it was reluctant to adopt and demanded a relentless, repetitive practice regime.'[9]. Despite attending St. Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, a school she later characterised as a "bog standard comp", [10] she was able to obtain admission to Warwick University, finally achieving a lower second class degree in English and American literature.


Following university, Fox became a social worker from 1981 to 1987, working in mental health, with the homeless in Coventry, and with battered women. She then became an English Language and Literature lecturer for special needs adults at Thurrock Technical College (now Thurrock and Basildon College) during 1987-90. Obtaining a PCGE from Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich) in Eltham during 1991-1992, she taught at West Herts College during 1992-1999.

Revolutionary Communist Party

Disillusioned with the then Labour government and having been exposed to Catholic liberation theology as a teenager, [11] [12] Fox joined the Socialist Workers Party as a student at Warwick University, [13] [14] despite a background as an anti-abortion activist with the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. [15] Considering the SWP crude and untheoretical, [16] she left them to join the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, later renamed the Revolutionary Communist Party, possibly partly due to their uncritical pro-Irish Republican line, which will have resonated with Fox’s Irish Catholic background. [17] Her strong Republican leanings are suggested by the role of her sister Fiona as a leading member of RCP front the Irish Freedom Movement and editor of its bulletin Irish Freedom. Though her anti-abortion and Catholic background delayed her admission, [18] Claire Fox was eventually accepted. She stood in the local elections for the party in May 1986, contesting the Benwell ward in Newcastle.[4] She remained a member until its dissolution in 1996, becoming a branch organiser and then leaving her teaching job to work on its monthly magazine Living Marxism [19] with a party name (pseudonym) of Claire Foster.

LM network

When the RCP disbanded, Fox relaunched Living Marxism as LM, taking the role of co-publisher with Helene Guldberg.[20]. After the magazine was bankrupted in a libel trial in 2000, Fox founded the Institute of Ideas, building on the existing RCP summer school, while other members set up on line magazine Spiked. She is a director, company secretary and shareholder of the company which runs the Institute, the Academy of Ideas, and is the director of the Institute.

Other activities

Fox is regularly invited to comment on developments in culture, education, politics and the arts on BBC programmes such as Question Time, Any Questions? and Breakfast and on SkyNews Review. She has been a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze since 2001, later joined by LM associate Kenan Malik, while other LM associates regularly appear on the programme as witnesses. She writes for national newspapers and a number of specialist journals, has a monthly column in the MJ (Municipal Journal) and presented ‘Claire Fox News’ on the defunct internet TV channel 18 Doughty Street during 2006/7. [21] She is also a Member of the European Cultural Parliament and sits on the Advisory Board of the Economic Policy Centre.

She is a columnist for The Free Society, which describes itself on its website as a group that has been "launched by the smokers’ lobby group Forest to give a voice to those who want less not more government interference in their daily lives". [22]


Popular press, Magazines articles (including the next step and Living Marxism/LM) and web publications


















LM network

Conservative movement




  • Institute of Ideas, Claire Fox Institute of Ideas website, accessed 29 Dec 2010



  1. "Profile", Institute of Ideas, acc 15 Mar 2011
  2. "A prickly opinion on just about everything, The Times, 17 December , 2002
  3. "Claire and Fiona Fox, sisters", “Sunday Times”, 28 May 2006.
  4. 4.0 4.1 RCP, The next step 2 May 1986, No. 17, p. 4.
  5. "A prickly opinion on just about everything, The Times, 17 December , 2002
  6. Room to argue, “The Telegraph, Calcutta”, 11 January 2009
  7. "Claire and Fiona Fox, sisters, “Sunday Times”, 28 May 2006
  8. "Claire and Fiona Fox, sisters, “Sunday Times”, 28 May 2006
  9. Claire Fox 'The line between good teaching and abuse - comment' Times Educational Supplement, 1 September 2013
  10. "Infamy's child", The Guardian, 19 November 2005
  11. "Infamy's child", The Guardian, 19 November 2005
  12. Hope for the Best (Interview with Claire Fox),' Spanner Media April 2007
  13. "Infamy's child", The Guardian, 19 November 2005
  14. Hope for the Best (Interview with Claire Fox),' Spanner Media April 2007
  15. "Infamy's child", The Guardian, 19 November 2005
  16. Hope for the Best (Interview with Claire Fox),' Spanner Media April 2007
  17. "[1]", Daily Politico: Claire Fox, 17 Aug 2008
  18. Hope for the Best (Interview with Claire Fox),' Spanner Media April 2007
  19. "A prickly opinion on just about everything, The Times, 17 December , 2002
  20. Profile Institute of Ideas website acc 11 Mar 2011
  21. Profile Institute of Ideas website acc 11 Mar 2011
  22. "Claire Fox", The Free Society website, accessed November 2008
  23. Data at Companies House, accessed 9 February 2011
  24. Economic Policy Centre Advisory board, accessed 4 April 2011