THE family of Labour MP Jo Cox have urged the public to unite against evil today as they visited the scene of where she was brutally killed on Thursday, The Sun reports. The mum-of-two and member of Parliament for Batley and Spen was shot and stabbed in the street at around 1pm as she was on her way to meet with constituents in the normally quiet West Yorkshire town of Birstall near Leeds.
This afternoon her heartbroken family arrived accompanied by police officers at the scene near the library where the 41-year-old was gunned down to lay flowers and pay their respects. Laying floral tributes were her parents Jean and Gordon Leadbeater as well as her sister Kim Leadbeater, who hugged as they admired all the flowers left by members of the public.
Absent were husband Brendan Cox and two children. Speaking to the crowds, sister Kim said: “I want to start by saying thank you. This is unbelievable and we all appreciate this massively as does Brendan who isn’t here today as he’s looking after the children. It’s amazing, you’re proper Yorkshire people. Absolutely beautiful.”
In a prepared statement she said: “This won’t be easy. There are some things in life you should never have to do. Last night I had to identify my sister’s body and say ‘yes, this is Jo Cox MP’. “She was many things to many people in her too short life but she was my sister, my only sibling, my parents’ first born child, a wife and mother.
“This is a very surreal situation, my parents my partner and I are very private people and Jo in true character had respected our wish to remain out of the public eye. But I could not continue to watch the public outpouring of genuine grief, sympathy and love since this horrendous incident occurred without speaking on behalf of my family.
“It has genuinely made a difference and helped us through some dark times in the last 48 hours. I would particularly like to thank the police and emergency services. “And I would also like to thank the brave and courageous gentleman Bernard Kenny who tried to help her in her hour of need. Our thoughts and thanks go to him and his family and we wish him well in his recovery. What an amazing man.”
The MP’s sister went on to pay tribute to Jo’s two members of staff, Sandra and Fazila, who were with her when she was attacked and spoke of how Jo always had a “glass half full” mentality – something instilled in them by their parents from a young age. She went on: “We know there are some evil people in this world but there are an awful lot of good people too.”
Kim also spoke of how she would sometimes sit with her sister and talk about the abuse the MP received on social media, but Jo had said she always knew she had a “silent majority” who were fighting her corner.
She added: “In the past 48 hours people have not been silent, they have been vocal and have spoken from the heart with genuine emotion and no hidden agendas. Jo would have loved that.”
In a plea for the public to remain strong and unite against hatred – a sentiment that echoed the words of Jo’s husband Brendan Cox shortly after her death – her sister said: “We have to continue to be strong and have solidarity in the days, months and years to come as part of Jo’s legacy and focus as Jo would say ‘on that which unites us not that which divides us’.
“For now our family is broken but we will mend with time and we will never let Jo leave our lives. She will live on through all of the good people in the world, through Brendan, us and through her truly wonderful children who will always know what an utterly amazing woman their mother was.
“She was a human being and she was perfect.” Despite Brendan being unable to attend he sent a tweet supporting his sister-in-law. He wrote: “Very proud of my sister-in-law Kim who spoke on behalf of us all and did her sister proud #MoreInCommon” The family’s visit comes just hours after the man accused of her murder appeared in a London court this morning.
Following her death Jo Cox’s devastated husband Brendan has helped to raise more than £300,000 via a Go Fund Me page for his wife’s favourite charities. Mr Cox tweeted his 11,000 followers a link to the page last night which will help protect people in Syria, tackle loneliness and fight extremism.
The total – which currently stands at £307,000 – will be donated to three charities close to Jo’s heart: The Royal Voluntary Service, HOPE not hate, and The White Helmets. Just hours after her death the MP’s husband Brendan Cox made a heartfelt statement urging people to “fight against the hate that killed Jo”.
Charity director Brendan, 37, said: “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.” Yesterday Ghulam Maniyar, the father of her assistant Fazila Aswat, revealed that Jo’s last words were “my pain is too much” as his daughter cradled the MP as she bled in the street.
Heroic Fazila begged her friend: “Jo, get up” — but the mum of two said: “I can’t make it.”