The new Lead Commissioner for the Government’s Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE), appointed by Home Secretary Priti Patel on 31 March for an interim period of six months, is extremest, Robin Simcox.
Robin Simcox also has close ties to a senior Trump administration official, Katharine Gorka. Documents released under Freedom of Information confirm that Simcox was a close confidante of Gorka and regularly shared his publications with her.
She has a history of promoting discredited far-right anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and was a contributor to Breitbart News during its heyday under the far-right ideologue and former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon.
Katharine Gorka is married to Sebastian Gorka, formerly a top Trump counter-terrorism advisor who lost his job shortly after revelations emerged of his public support for, and membership of, several Nazi-allied anti-Semitic groups in Hungary.
Simcox is a former Margaret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation – a right-wing think-tank in Washington D.C. which had close ties to the Donald Trump administration.
A special investigation by Byline Times can exclusively reveal that Simcox spoke in 2019 at a notorious American anti-immigrant hate group, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which has regularly circulated anti-Semitic, white nationalist materials over a 10-year period – including articles by noted Holocaust deniers and eugenicists.
The CIS has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the leading civil rights law firm that tracks extremist groups in America.
In his work for the Heritage Foundation, Simcox also promoted several racist and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists, including a proponent of the ‘Great Replacement’ ideology – the idea that ‘native’ white populations are being ‘replaced’ by non-white immigrants – which has inspired far-right terror attacks in recent years. Most prominent among them is Dr Lorenzo Vidino, whom Simcox cites to support the idea that American Muslim civil society groups are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.
But, according to Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, Dr Vidino is an American academic with direct ties to far-right hate groups in the US. He has advocated the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. In 2005, when asked if Europeans were witnessing “the end of Europe” by Frontpage magazine – the far-right publication of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black activist David Horowitz – Dr Vidino said:
“Europe, as we knew it 30 years ago, is long gone. Demography doesn’t lie: in a couple of decades non-ethnic Europeans will represent the majority of the population in many European cities and a large percentage of them will be Muslim.”
It is mind-boggling that the UK Government would appoint a man to head its Commission for Countering Extremism who interacts with hardline, anti-immigrant organisations and apparently promotes completely discredited claims about the supposed infiltration of Muslim institutions by radical Islamists.
It is impossible to see how Robin Simcox could offer the Government any kind of balanced, impartial information or strategic policy ideas.
A Home Office spokesperson did not dispute Byline Times’ investigation, but did not disassociate the department from the far-right ideologies shared by Simcox’s affiliations.