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Commission for Countering Extremism

Volume 637: debated on Thursday 15 March 2018

I am today confirming Ms Sara Khan’s appointment to the role of lead commissioner of the Government’s new Commission for Countering Extremism. All necessary pre-employment checks have been completed.

Ms Khan’s appointment follows a rigorous and transparent competition carried out in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s governance code on public appointments. I am delighted that Ms Khan will drive forward the vital work of the Commission for Countering Extremism. Ms Khan’s extensive experience in countering extremism and defending the rights of women and girls, and her determination to confront and challenge extremism wherever it resides makes her ideally suited to this role.

Extremism causes a wide range of harms, including the promotion of hatred and division, discrimination against women and girls, the encouragement of isolation, and the rejection of our democratic system and the rule of law. The Commission for Countering Extremism will have a clear remit to identify extremism in all its forms, whether online or in our communities.

As we consider new approaches to tackling extremism, I believe that there is much that can be learnt from how society sought to tackle racism in the last century. In particular how the state and civil society worked together to take on and challenge a set of attitudes and beliefs that have no place in this country.

I have agreed with Ms Khan that her early priorities will include:

Engaging widely and openly on extremism and Britain’s values across the public sector, communities, civil society, and with legal and academic experts.

Producing a strategic assessment of the threat we face from extremism, and the current response.

Advising Ministers on the Commission’s future structures, work programme and the appointment of further commissioners. This advice will in part be informed by the lead commissioner’s engagement with stakeholders.

The Commission will also produce an annual report on its work.

Alongside this statement, I have today published a charter for the Commission, which sets out its relationship with the Government and the public. The Commission for Countering Extremism will initially be established as a non-statutory expert committee of the Home Office. It will operate independently, at arm’s length from Government.

The Commission will play a crucial role in supporting the Government and their partners to tackle the scourge of extremism and stand up for the shared values of the mainstream majority. I look forward to working with Ms Khan on this shared agenda.