Friday 21 July 2017

'A great star with a big heart'

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) stands during an impromptu vigil at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox. Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) stands during an impromptu vigil at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London, following the death of Labour MP Jo Cox. Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Kate McCann

Jo Cox's children will grow up "without their mum" but can be "immensely proud" of her achievements and what she stood for, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said as figures from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the Labour MP.

David Cameron said Britain had lost a "great star", a campaigning MP with "huge compassion and a big heart", while Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said she was one of "the brightest and most popular" MPs.

Mr Corbyn paid tribute to Mrs Cox's "deep commitment to humanity" and said she had died "doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy".

He said: "Jo was universally liked at Westminster, not just by her Labour colleagues, but across Parliament.

Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, with whom Mrs Cox once worked, said: "Jo Cox was the most vivacious, personable, dynamic and committed friend you could ever have." "We've lost a great star," he said.

Jo Cox, who was 41 when she died, was a former head of policy and head of humanitarian campaigning for the global charity Oxfam who was elected Labour MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire at the last general election and quickly established herself as a rising star.

Before she entered Parliament, Jo Cox had spent a decade working in some of the world's most dangerous war zones, and in Parliament she made a name for herself campaigning to find a solution to the conflict in Syria and demanding the government do more to ensure that humanitarian aid reached people who needed it, including calling for RAF airdrops. She also established and became co-chairman of a new all-party parliamentary group on Syria.

Helen Joanne Cox, always known as "Jo", was born on June 22, 1974 in Batley, Yorkshire. Her mother, Jean, was a school secretary and her father, Gordon, was a factory worker in Leeds.

Jo Cox was educated at Heckmondwike Grammar School and at Cambridge University.

After leaving university, she worked for Oxfam, becoming head of policy and was also an advisor to Gordon Brown's wife Sarah, and Lady Kinnock. She became national chairwoman of Labour Women's Network and a senior adviser to the Freedom Fund, an anti-slavery charity.

She was selected to fight the safe Labour seat of Batley and Spen at the 2015 election after the previous MP, Mike Wood, announced his retirement, and increased the Labour majority by 2,000 votes.

Irish Independent

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