All holders of public office will have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values in an attempt to combat extremism. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, said it was not possible for people to play a "positive role" in public life unless they accepted such basic values as democracy, equality and freedom of speech.

He intervened after a damning report by Dame Louise Casey, the government's community cohesion tsar, which warned that some Muslim communities were living in extreme isolation from the rest of society and some did not share British values such as tolerance.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Javid says he will enact Casey's proposal that those in public office make a pledge of allegiance. It will include everyone from elected officials to civil servants and local council workers.

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