Tuesday 25 October 2016

'Jo died because of her political views'

Adam Withnall

Published 22/06/2016 | 02:30

A white and red rose lie on Jo Cox's empty seat in the House of Commons. Photo: PA Wire
A white and red rose lie on Jo Cox's empty seat in the House of Commons. Photo: PA Wire

MP Jo Cox was killed because of her "very strong political views", her widower has said in his first interview since her death.

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Brendan Cox said his wife - who would have been 42 on Wednesday - had become increasingly worried about the "coarsening" language of political debates in the UK and globally.

Speaking in a pool interview with the BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Cox said the outpouring of public support and a £1m charitable fund had been sources of comfort to the couple's two children.

And the late MP's husband said he would be pleased if she was replaced as the representative for Batley and Spen by a female politician, saying it would be "lovely symbolism".

Ms Cox, pictured right, was shot and stabbed in the street in her constituency last Thursday, one week before the UK votes on its future in Europe.

Asked if he was concerned about people using his wife's death in the context of political debate, Mr Cox said: "She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views. I think she died because of them, and she would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life."

Mr Cox said she was particularly worried about the current direction of politics across the world, "particularly around creating division and playing on people's worst fears rather than their best instincts".

Expressing his thanks for the "incredible" public support following her death, he said: "The two things that I've been very focused on is how do we support and protect the children, and how do we make sure that something good comes out of this."

Had she lived, the MP would have been out on the streets campaigning for a Remain vote in the EU referendum, he said. But she was "worried about the tone of the debate" amid concerns it was "whipping up fears and whipping up hatred".

Asked if he was considering standing for the Batley and Spen seat in the by-election, which rival parties have said they will not contest, Mr Cox said: "No, my only overriding priority at the moment is how I make sure that I protect my family and my kids through this and how they're okay."

He added: "I hope that whoever replaces her will become another female Member of Parliament."

That would mean there are 100 female Labour MPs "so I think that will be a lovely symbolism".

Irish Independent

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