Harriet Harman: Jo Cox was committed to progressive politics

Former deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman described Jo Cox as a principled politician in a tribute to the murdered MP.  Pic: PA.
Former deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman described Jo Cox as a principled politician in a tribute to the murdered MP. Pic: PA.

Murdered MP Jo Cox was a beacon to young female MPs and was committed to progressive politics, said Labour frontbencher Harriet Harman.

Tributes to the Labour MP for Batley and Spen who was killed in Birstall yesterday have continued to be paid by British politicians overnight and today.

A man writes a message at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London. Pic: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

A man writes a message at Parliament Square opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London. Pic: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

In a tribute posted on her website, Mrs Harman described her fellow MP in glowing terms.

She wrote: “Jo’s death is an absolute tragedy. She was dynamic and fearless.

“Elected only a year ago she was a beacon among the new generation of young Labour women MPs. So full of promise for the future, so committed to progressive politics. Jo’s politics were always about bringing people together and never about creating divisions.

“She put into practice her belief that politicians must be amongst the people they represent and she was, in every town, village and community in her constituency.

“We were immensely proud of her and are devastated by her loss.”

She added: “Her children will now have to grow up without their mother but we will make sure that they know what an amazing, progressive and principled politician their mother was and how much we admired her.

“My deepest sympathy goes to Brendan and to Jo’s family.”

Among the tributes posted by other British politicians on Twitter, Nick Clegg, Sheffield Hallam MP and former Deputy Prime Minister, said: “Jo Cox was unusually free of the tribal pettiness of politics - always friendly, cheerful and kind to friend and foe alike.

“My heart goes out to her family. A lovely person’s life has been snuffed out by hate.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed his feelings in a Facebook post in which he said: “Everyone who met Jo knew she was special. I knew her from her time as a fearless campaigner working on behalf of some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people and helped her, a little, in her campaign to become the Labour candidate and MP for Batley and Spen.

“I knew that she would bring all her passion for social justice and equality to Parliament and fight just as hard for her own community in Westminster as she has for so many others around the world.

“In the year she was an MP she made more impact than others make in a whole parliamentary career. Jo loved being the Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen. She was the most powerful advocate for the people of Syria, ensuring their plight stayed on the political agenda as well as reminding us all of our country’s proud record of humanitarianism and brought her expertise to bear on some of the most pressing global challenges of our time. But she was also an extremely hard-working local MP for her home constituency and so proud of her roots there.

“Jo was one of the smartest and most independently minded MPs, respected by people from all parties. She was also warm and funny – I remember her telling me recently that she was going to get permission from the House of Commons to park her little boat at Parliament so she could drive it to work.

“She was the best of politics, the best of Labour and I will miss her. All my thoughts and prayers are with her husband Brendan, her two little children, and her whole family.”

Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, tweeted: “Yesterday’s shock giving way to today’s terrible sadness, especially for Jo Cox’s family + friends. Grateful for many kind messages o/night.”

Labour MP for Barnsley Central, Dan Jarvis, posted: “Devastated at the loss of brilliant, funny & determined friend Jo Cox, who dedicated her life to helping others. Love to her family.”

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted: “My heart breaks for the loss of Jo Cox and for Brendan and their kids. She was so full of life and joy. Words feel hopeless right now.”

Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, wrote: “Thoughts & prayers with Jo’s husband Brendan, two young children, family & friends.”

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Pontefract and Castleford, tweeted: “One of liveliest, bravest & most passionate MPs. Thoughtful, creative, determined. Cannot believe we have lost you @Jo_Cox1.”

Her post was retweeted by Ed Balls, Labour MP for Morley and Outwood, who added: “All so true. There really are no words to describe how awful this is.”

Labour MP and former Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, tweeted: “Devastating and utterly senseless. Jo was brilliant, kind and wonderful. Prayers and love to Brendan, her family, staff and friends. RIP Jo.”

Andy Burnham, the Shadow Home Secretary, posted: “What is happening to the world? Love & prayers to @Jo_Cox1 & all her family.”

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, wrote: “Heartbroken. Thoughts & prayers with Jo’s husband Brendan, two young children, family & friends.”