It is an attack on Representative Democracy when a Member of Parliament is attacked. It was an attack on democracy when Airey Neave and Ian Gow were assassinated in 1979 and 1990 respectively by the crypto-Fascists who styled themselves as the IRA , when Margaret Thatcher was targeted in the Brighton Bombing in 1984 and when Stephen Timms MP was stabbed in his surgery in 2010. And it was an outrageous attack on democracy when a talented campaigning Labour MP Jo Cox, a mother of two children, was viciously murdered today in Birstall near Leeds where she had grown up and which as the constituency of Batley and Spen she represented in parliament since 2015. Her shocking murder was cowardly in the extreme with reports of her being stabbed, kicked while on the ground and shot three times.
Jo Cox went to Heckmondwike Grammar School, a state grammar school, before reading Social and Political Studies at Pembroke College, Cambridge from where she graduated in 1995. She was the first member of her family to attend university. Cox also studied at the London School of Economics.
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) June 16, 2016
Following her graduation, Cox worked as an adviser to Labour MP Joan Walley, before moving to Brussels to spend two years advising Glenys Kinnock, who was then a Member of the European Parliament. She became an aid worker in developing countries for Oxfam, eventually becoming the charity’s head of policy. Her charity work led to a role advising Sarah Brown (wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown), who was spearheading a campaign to prevent deaths in pregnancy and childbirth. She became the national chair of the Labour Women’s Network and a senior adviser to the Freedom Fund, an anti-slavery charity.
Jo Cox – https://t.co/7m04RjnhDY
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) June 16, 2016
In a statement both brave and proud, her husband Brendan Cox said:
“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.
Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.
Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.”
The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke for all in the Labour family when he said:
“The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family – and indeed the whole country – will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.
Jo Cox had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity. She worked both for Oxfam and the anti-slavery charity, the Freedom Fund, before she was elected last year as MP for Batley and Spen – where she was born and grew up.
Jo was dedicated to getting us to live up to our promises to support the developing world and strengthen human rights – and she brought those values and principles with her when she became an MP.
Utterly shocked by the news of the attack on Jo Cox. The thoughts of the whole Labour Party are with her and her family at this time.
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) June 16, 2016
Jo Cox died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve. It is a profoundly important cause for us all. Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across parliament.
In the coming days, there will be questions to answer about how and why she died. But for now all our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children. They will grow up without their Mum, but can be immensely proud of what she did, what she achieved and what she stood for.
We send them our deepest condolences. We have lost a much loved colleague, a real talent and a dedicated campaigner for social justice and peace. But they have lost a wife and a mother, and our hearts go out to them.”
It is part of the great representative tradition of British democracy that MP’s are open to the people they represent in Parliament and can be lobbied in Westminster, the very expression comes from the lobby of the Houses of Parliament where constituents meet their Members of Parliament. The murder of Jo Cox was an act of political violence which is alien to our democratic tradition. When David Cameron won his knife edge victory in 2010 as a Labour supporter I saw him speak in the street to the media in Queen Anne’s Gate about his expectation that he would be PM. There was no onerous security and there were no mobs in the street supporting the contesting claims of Labour and the Conservatives. Violence, intimidation and coercion after many hard fought battles over the years is not part of British Politics or democracy.
Watching Jo Cox's measured and principled interventions in the Commons makes you realise what a huge loss this nation has suffered.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) June 16, 2016
You have to ask what background of hate speech, narrow nationalism, blaming others for your own failings and divisive debate leads to a situation where a person with extremist views feels they can attack democracy and a democratically elected representative in such a cowardly and vicious manner. This is something which cuts across party politics and has left seasoned observers shocked, from the steely contempt Andrew Neil showed for the attacker to the eloquence underpinned by anger shown by Laura Kuenssberg when commenting on this attack by a murderous male on a gentle and talented women. It is an appalling waste of a great talent and a huge tragedy for her family and our country. Jo Cox was killed because she had a different belief set to the shooter and to my mind, that is a terrorist attack.
A young family has lost their mum, a husband a loving wife and Labour has lost one of its brightest rising stars, a politician of huge determination, drive and integrity. Jo Cox was exactly the sort of MP we need more of. She was dedicated, principled and popular she came back to her home town to stand as MP. This goes beyond party politics as she is a great loss to the country as a whole. Her cowardly murder, the first ever of a female MP, is a sad reminder that the Labour Party is a family and we stand together in our victories, our defeats and on days like this.
Jo Cox entered Parliament to represent the place and people she most identified with and to change Britain for the better, she represented the very best of Labour values. Tonight the Labour family and British Democracy are poorer for her passing.
Helen Joanne “Jo” Cox (née Leadbeater; 22 June 1974 – 16 June 2016) Labour Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen
Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.