Brent MPs pay tribute to Jo Cox

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler

Left to right: Barry Gardiner, Tulip Siddiq and Dawn Butler - Credit: Archant

The three MPs serving Brent have paid tribute to their Labour colleague who was killed last week.

Family album... Jo Cox photographed recently by husband Brendan on board their houseboat at Wapping

Family album... Jo Cox photographed recently by husband Brendan on board their houseboat at Wapping - Credit: Brendan Cox

Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother and MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire was shot and stabbed last Thursday.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North and Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, have paid tribute to a “wonderful person and a great colleague” who was “fun, warm and witty” and who touched all their lives.

Both Ms Butler and Ms Siddiq were part of the same parliamentary intake as Mrs Cox last year when all three won their seats.

Ms Butler said: “It was only last Tuesday that I was hugging Jo on her house boat on the Thames where she lived with husband Brendan and their two children. “Let’s make this an annual thing,” she said. Had I known this was to be our last hug I would have held her a little longer.”

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She added: “Jo commanded huge respect and would share her experiences of ten years working in war zones. I remember Jo speaking passionately about children as young as seven who were being forced on to the frontline in Syria and of young girls raped in conflicts. So she argued strongly that we had to welcome migrants fleeing conflict. She said of her own constituency that there was much more which unites people than divides them and that is true of Brent.”

Ms Siddiq said: “Those of us who entered last year were quite a close knit group. I was in pieces on the day it happened.

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“Jo was the mother to two little children, and when I was pregnant, she gave me a lot of advice, so we bonded partly in that way. She was just a very lovely woman, as everyone says.”

She said: “The investigation into Jo’s death is ongoing, so I don’t know why this murder happened. But what I would say is there’s no doubt that this referendum has created a really nasty atmosphere, and it’s become a proxy vote on immigration, and that’s something I really regret.”

Mr Gardiner added: “Jo devoted her life to helping people. Anyone who takes a look at the speech she gave to Parliament on Syrian refugee children will understand the things that inspired her – she believed we had a moral responsibility to step up and help them. That was all she wanted to do: help people.

“Yesterday, in the aftermath of Jo’s death, MPs were summoned to a security briefing with the Commissioner of the Met and the Home Secretary. But God forbid that we should ever have to feel afraid of our constituents.

“As MPs we should have no other purpose than to serve and help the people we are elected to represent. Jo stood out; she was super intelligent, super fun and a loving and charming person -- but in her desire to help people she was no different.

“Perhaps we will honour her extraordinary life best by trying to live as she did: helping others and always seeing the potential for good in every situation and in every other human being.”

Thomas Mair is in custody charged with Mrs Cox’s murder.

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