Tributes and warnings three years on from murder of Jo Cox MP

Kim Leadbeater. Picture by Scott Merrylees.
Kim Leadbeater. Picture by Scott Merrylees.

The sister of Jo Cox appealed for people to “stop shouting at each other and start listening” on the third anniversary of the politician’s murder while her widower warned that “the hate still spews forth”.

Kim Leadbeater was among the family members, campaigners and politicians who today paid tribute to the Labour MP for Batley and Spen and mother-of-two who was killed aged 41 by right-wing terrorist Thomas Mair outside Birstall library on June 16, 2016.

“We need to stop shouting at each other, we need to start listening to each other, we need to start understanding other people’s positions and perspectives and that’s what we’re trying to do through Jo’s foundation,” Ms Leadbeater told Sophy Ridge on her Sky News show.

She said: “It’s easy to be angry - I’m angry, believe me, about what’s happened to us - but I’m not giving in to that anger and I’m not giving in to the negative emotions.”

It comes after Ms Leadbeater said on Saturday that a resolve for “calmer, kinder politics” in the wake of the her sister’s assassination has been “forgotten”.

In a tribute to her friend and party colleague posted online, Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves said: “Thinking today of Jo’s children, husband, sister, parents and everyone who grieves for her. It is still impossible comprehend what happened three years ago. I will never forget Jo Cox and all she stood for.”

Meanwhile her successor Tracy Brabin, who is now MP for the constituency, said: “Inspired by Jo, we’ll continue to look for common ground with those who disagree. We’ll celebrate our diversity and shout loud about our great community, its ambition, kindness, creativity, and compassion. Our thoughts are with her family today.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also shared his feelings.

He said: “Three years ago today our brilliant colleague Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist. From Jo’s death to the attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge, to the murder of Makram Ali, families and communities have come together to say we won’t be divided.”

Mr Ali, who was 51, was killed after a man drove a van into a crowd of Muslims near a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, in 2017.

Mrs Cox’s widower said that her loss is still felt by his family every day.

Brendan Cox said: “Anniversaries are strange things. I guess as the years go by the anniversary of Jo’s death will become more significant but our family feels our loss everyday and today just feels like another day with our family incomplete and Jo’s joyful presence missing. Life still feels muted.

"But we still have so much to be grateful for. Our family, our neighbours, our friends who have stuck by us through thick and thin. Our kids who are a daily reminder of Jo’s vitality, love and empathy. When Jo died I knew she’d want two things; to fight the hatred that killed her and to surround her kids with love.

"On the former, today’s headlines are another reminder of how the hate still spews forth. And today it has new cheerleaders including the most powerful man in the world.”

The Great Get Together, an international event aiming to heal social divisions by giving people a chance to meet one another, takes place at the weekend.

It is organised by the Jo Cox Foundation, a charity formed to honour the MP’s legacy, and gatherings are due to be hosted across the country and in areas as far away as the USA, Brussels and Luxembourg.

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