My colleague and friend, Jo Cox MP
My parliamentary colleague and friend, Jo Cox, was brutally murdered yesterday while she was carrying out her duties as a constituency MP. What happened has touched the heart of the whole nation.
Jo had only been an MP for a year. I was in the chamber for her maiden speech when she spoke so movingly about the people of Batley and Spen who she was so proud to represent. Jo also spoke about the diverse nature of her community and of Britain saying ‘there is more that divides us than unites us’. She was right.
At this terrible time our thoughts are with Jo’s husband Brendan and their two young children who will now grow up without their beloved mum. As Brendan said yesterday, the two things Jo would have wanted are to bathe their children in love and for everyone to unite together against the hate that killed her.
The Mayor of Croydon, Cllr Wayne Lawlor, has opened a book of condolences in the town hall which you may wish to sign. He also hosted a flag-lowering ceremony this morning which I attended together with representatives of the two main political parties. Parliament will meet on Monday afternoon to pay tribute to Jo’s life and work, both cut so tragically short. There is also an online book of condolences, should you want to leave a message.
The attack on Jo was also an attack on democracy. It is important that MPs are as open, accessible and visible as possible. I will continue to meet as many constituents in Croydon North as I possibly can, and the next of my regular residents’ meetings will go ahead as planned tomorrow morning in Broad Green. I have asked the police to review security measures in my office in Thornton Heath to make sure that my staff are safe.
Our best tribute to Jo is to continue the work she believed in for an open, diverse and compassionate society.
Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.
Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.