Halfway through our interview, Sara Khan starts to cry. The activist, who was appointed as the government's counter-extremism tsar in January, had hitherto seemed unflappable. Yet suddenly, she is blinking back tears and pulling tissues from her handbag, while the PR man gestures at me to stop recording.
What has made her well up is describing the harm that extremists cause. "Young people drawn to extremism, ruining their lives," she chokes up. "We've reached a crossroads where if we don't realise the threat, our country will become more divided, and we'll lose a generation of young people. It's so emotional to me — I live and breathe it."
The 38-year-old, who co-founded the anti-extremism charity Inspire, now leads the Commission for Countering Extremism (CCE). Last week, it announced an evidence-gathering drive, which aims to study all forms of extremism in the UK, from the far right and hard left to Islamist, Hindu and Sikh groups. Its focus is "chronic extremism — division, polarisation and hatred". When it eventually proposes solutions, Khan says it will be "as radical as is needed".