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"We've lost one of our very best" - UK parliament reconvenes to honour Jo Cox

The House of Commons was recalled especially to honour the Labour MP, who was murdered in her constituency last week.

jo1 Jo Cox Source: PA

THE HOUSE OF Commons in Westminster, London, reconvened this afternoon especially to pay tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox, who lost her life last week.

On what proved a sombre, emotive occasion, speakers from both sides of the House united to laud Ms Cox’s life.

Speaker of the House John Bercow, in introducing the speeches, said that the House had come together in “heartbreaking sadness”.

“We assemble here to reinforce our dedication to freedom,” he said.

The assembled politicians wore white roses in memory of their colleague.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the death of Ms Cox as Parliament having “lost one of our own, one of our very best”.

jezza3 Jeremy Corbyn Source: PA

“She stood out as an MP, as someone who always stood up for the most vulnerable,” he said. “Jo’s death was an attack on democracy, the whole country is shocked and saddened by it.”

Jo didn’t just believe in loving your neighbour, but in loving your neighbour’s neighbour, something she proved time and again in her work with Oxfam and the Freedom Fund.
Her integrity and talent was known by everyone in this house, and by the community of Batley and Spen whom she proudly represented for the last year.

Corbyn also paid tribute to the people who came to Ms Cox’s aid during her fatal attack – in particular 77-year-old Bernard Kenny who was stabbed when attempting to intervene.

In finishing his speech Corbyn quoted Jo’s widowed husband Brendan: “Jo believed in a better world, and she fought for it every day of her life in a way that would have exhausted most people”.

Exceptional

Jo Cox shooting Source: Charlotte Ball

Prime Minister David Cameron described Jo as “an exceptional colleague and friend”, with an “irrepressible spirit that lit up the lives of all who knew her, and saved the lives of many people she had never met”.

“She was a humanitarian to her core,” he said. “A passionate feminist who spent her time encouraging women to stand for office long before she did so herself”.

This Wednesday, 22 June, would have been Jo Cox’s 42nd birthday. Cameron mentioned that a global celebration of her life will take place on that date “in New York, in London, and in Batley and Spen”.

Quoting a colleague, Cameron said: “when you lost your way in the cut and thrust of political life, Jo would remind you why you got into politics in the first place.”

Jo, we mourn your loss yet we know that all you stood for, all the democracies and freedoms, are unbreakable.

Jo’s Labour colleague Rachel Reeves, who became visibly emotional towards the end of her speech, spoke of her relationship with her friend, whom she had known for 18 years.

Describing how, before she became an MP herself, Ms Cox had shadowed her elected friend for a day, she said: “by the end a lot of people didn’t know who was the MP and who was doing the shadowing”.

Jo Cox shooting Rachel Reeves Source: Charlotte Ball

She lived the life she wanted to live, yet there was so much more left for her to achieve.
Batley and Spen will go on to elect a new MP, but no-one will be able to replace this mother.

Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell described Jo as “a five-foot bundle of old-fashioned Yorkshire sense”, and described an occasion on which he accompanied her on a visit to the Russian ambassador:

“I do not believe the ambassador will easily forget that visit and the dressing-down she gave him,” he said.

Jo Cox shooting A sea of flowers placed at the memorial in Birstall where MP Jo Cox murdered Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

We mourn for her as a mother, of two gorgeous children who will now grow up without the support of their lovely Mum.

Stephen Kinnock, son of former Labour leader Neil, meanwhile described Jo’s death as her “being assassinated because of what she was, and because of what she stood for”.

Immediately following the speeches a memorial service was held for Ms Cox in the gardens of Westminster.

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

52-year-old Thomas Mair is facing charges of murder, grievous bodily harm, and possession of a firearm in connection with the death of Jo Cox.

He is set to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court this Thursday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Read: “A 21st Century Good Samaritan”: Jo Cox remembered at church service in her hometown

Read: “We will kill you”: Irish politicians speak out against online abuse

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