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BNP sent leaflets saying murdered MP Jo Cox was 'misguided in helping Muslims', MP claims

Published 29/06/2016

Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall
Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall

The far-right British National Party (BNP) has posted leaflets to people living near the West Yorkshire town where Labour MP Jo Cox was killed, accusing her of taking "misguided action" by "helping Muslims", the Commons has heard.

Labour's Paula Sherriff said the "horrendous" leaflets, which had gone to her constituents in Dewsbury, said Mrs Cox was wrong to help people who may go on to join Islamic State, also known as Isis.

A polling station being used in the EU referendum at Batley Town Hall in the constituency Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
A polling station being used in the EU referendum at Batley Town Hall in the constituency Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The BNP, however, denied it was responsible for the leaflet.

Mrs Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on June 16, a week before the EU referendum.

Former BNP member Jack Buckby is to contest the by-election in the Batley and Spen constituency Mrs Cox represented, despite commitments from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Ukip not to field a candidate.

Home Office Minister Karen Bradley committed to meeting Ms Sherriff to discuss the "utterly unacceptable" leaflets and to look at what "specific action" can be taken against the BNP.

During Ms Bradley's statement on hate crime, Ms Sherriff said: "Many members will be aware that my constituency sits right next door to Batley and Spen.

"Yesterday people in my constituency received a leaflet from the BNP saying Jo Cox took misguided action by helping Muslims in the country who may now go on to join Isis, alongside some other horrendous allegations.

"Then I have received a significant number of communications from constituents, one - a seven year-old Muslim girl - was told on Friday, I've removed the expletives from this for the purpose of this House, 'it was the best day ever today, go home all of you' to her and her family.

"And I am continuing to receive a number of similar incidents.

Labour MP Jo Cox died in Birstall, West Yorkshire
Labour MP Jo Cox died in Birstall, West Yorkshire

"I like many others, I am so proud to be British, but I am also proud to be the daughter of a mother who is half Polish.

"On Monday I asked the Prime Minister about establishing a cross-party commission to look at these race hate crimes and wonder if any progress has been made on that?

"Because the time to act isn't tomorrow, next week or next month, it's now."

Ms Bradley replied: "I am shocked by what you say, I am sure the whole House is shocked.

"That is utterly, utterly unacceptable.

"I would like to meet you if you would allow and perhaps we can discuss a specific action being taken and make sure that any crimes such as those are reported and actions taken against them."

Following the remarks in the House of Commons, the BNP said it was not responsible for the leaflet and has reported the distribution of the material under its name to the police.

A Spokesman for the organisation added: "Let me be clear, we have already stated that the murder of Jo Cox was outrageous and we find violence of any sort abhorrent, we also find this new affront disgraceful and we categorically deny any involvement in the production and distribution of this leaflet.

"As things stand now the British National Party has also become a victim of this callous act and MPs, the police and the media have a duty to report such incidents in a factual manner and not to cause hatred and potential threat to the BNP and our many members and officials who could themselves become victim's of hate crimes, as a result of us being wrongly blamed in this incident.

"Again our thoughts and prayers go out to Jo Cox's family as this recent outrage must be adding significantly to the already terrible pain."

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