Kath Pinnock’s tribute to Jo Cox

Kath Pinnock was supposed to be campaigning for Remain with Jo Cox on the afternoon she died. This is the tribute she gave this afternoon in the House of Lords.

My Lords, Jo Cox was my MP. She was savagely attacked and murdered on a street just yards from the market place where we were due to meet that very afternoon to campaign together on an issue about which we both cared passionately: being part of an open, co-operative EU.

That was not to be.

Jo had strongly held, principled, views. She was willing to work with all those who would help to make a difference.

Following her murder, there has been an outpouring of love for Jo. The floral tributes placed in the market place grow daily. Yesterday over 100 came within just one hour.

The messages speak of real help given; concerns listened to; anxieties lightened.

People in her constituency of Batley and Spen knew who she was. Jo in her too, too brief time as our MP visited countless schools, community groups, and businesses, both large and small. Everywhere she went she gave support and encouragement. “Be ambitious; yes you can” was her mantra. Keep positive. Be hopeful.

The evening she died, the local church in Birstall held a vigil. The church was packed. Literally standing room only. They included people from all local faiths and none. Christians, Muslims, Sikhs together mourning.

The following day I had reason to walk into Birstall. Now in Yorkshire when you meet someone in the street you say hello. That day the mood was heavy, sombre. Nobody wanted to speak. So there were no words. But there was an understanding that what had happened to Jo was a tragedy beyond words. An awful barbaric attack on her; a huge overwhelming sense of loss of a special person whose life was so brutally cut short. And, yes, a sense of anger that I certainly felt that our democracy has been sullied.

I was speaking with some young people yesterday. Jo had been to their school several times already. They said at the beginning of the year no-one in the class was interested in politics. It was dismissed as being pointless. But not anymore. Jo had enthused many to see what can be achieved through political campaigning. And especially girls. What Jo did and what she believed was important in the lives of women – she believed that every girl has every chance of blossoming.

We in Batley and Spen have lost a remarkable MP. The country has lost a spirited advocate for the poor and dispossessed wherever they live. Their family has lost the person they love. We are all the poorer for her passing.

 

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2 Comments

  • Richard Whelan 20th Jun '16 - 8:38pm

    Wonderful tribute by Kath and some wonderful tributes in both Houses of Parliament today.

    As a country, we sometimes don’t appreciate how hard our MPs work on our behalves until they are no longer with us. So wonderful tributes all round.

  • Richard Underhill 20th Jun '16 - 11:08pm

    Please also see The Times 20/6/2016 page one column five headlined
    “Jo Cox was preparing report on far right”

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