JO COX’S final questions in Parliament - focused on protecting children who live in a war zone - have been answered by the Government.
Two days before her death, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire pressed the Foreign Office to give its assessment of the United Nations’ decision to temporarily remove the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s civil war from its blacklist of children’s rights violators.
Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood has since replied, with a Government note on each answer stating: “This question was tabled before the sad death of the honourable lady but the subject remains important and the Government’s response ought to be placed on the public record.”
Mrs Cox, 41, was killed after being shot and stabbed outside a constituency surgery in Birstall, on June 16 - the day after the House of Commons rose for a short recess during the final week of the EU referendum campaign. Her death was mourned across the UK and globally.
The mother of two, who was elected in May 2015, had developed a reputation as a champion of the vulnerable - notably in Syria - and previously worked with development charities before entering the Commons.
Written questions tabled by MPs are usually answered within five sitting days of Parliament.
Mrs Cox tabled two questions about military intervention in Yemen on June 14, asking Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond: “What steps the Government is taking to ensure the constructive engagement of the Saudi-led coalition with the UN on the question of its de-listing as a state or armed group that violates children’s rights during conflict?”
She also asked: “If (Mr Hammond) will make an assessment of the effect of the temporary removal of the Saudi-led coalition from the UN’s list of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflict on the integrity and effectiveness of UN Security Council measures on children and armed conflict.”
In the reply, published on July 1, Mr Ellwood recognised the Yemeni conflict has had a “significant impact” on children, including casualties and the recruitment of some as soldiers.
He said the UN secretary general’s announcement has been noted by the UK, adding: “A political solution remains the best way to bring this conflict and the suffering of the Yemeni people to an end.
“The UK Government continues to support the work of the United Nations on children and armed conflict.”
Mr Ellwood’s answers were the same for both of Mrs Cox’s questions.