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Jo Cox would be shocked by British divisions, says widower

Brendan Cox used a tribute on the third anniversary of the MP’s murder to warn “hate still spews forth”.

Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist three years ago. (PA)
Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist three years ago. (PA)

Jo Cox’s widower marked the third anniversary of her murder with a tribute which warned she would be “shocked” by divisions in British society.

Brendan Cox remembered his wife’s “vitality, love and empathy” but said “hate still spews forth”.

Mrs Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbetter, also said politics has “got progressively worse” since she was murdered by a far-right extremist in 2016.

Tributes to Mrs Cox, who was 41 when she was killed, were shared by political leaders across the spectrum on Sunday.

Her widower said on Twitter that their family and two children “feel our loss every day”.

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Brendan Cox, widower of MP Jo Cox, led tributes on the third anniversary of her murder (PA)

“When Jo died I knew she’d want two things; to fight the hatred that killed her and to surround her kids with love,” he added.

“On the former, today’s headlines are another reminder of how the hate still spews forth.

“And today it has new cheerleaders including the most powerful man in the world.

“In our own country Jo would be shocked that three years on genuine differences on the question of European integration could have given rise to an increasingly cultural politics and a country that feels divided.”

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Kim Leadbetter pictured with Jo Cox’s parents Gordon and Jean Leadbetter on the first anniversary of the MP’s murder (PA)

Ms Leadbetter told Sky’s Sophy Ridge: “I think unfortunately things were pretty bad in 2016 when Jo was killed but I think it’s probably fair to say that they have got progressively worse.

“There was a short period of time when politicians and other people said we have to do things differently in the aftermath of Jo’s murder but I think it’s fair to say that since that time things have just got progressively worse.”

Mrs Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was killed by Thomas Mair, 52.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Three years ago today our brilliant colleague Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right extremist.

“From Jo’s death to the attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge, to the murder of Makram Ali, families and communities have come together to say we won’t be divided.”

He also shared a video of Mrs Cox’s maiden speech to the House of Commons, in which she makes a comment she is widely remembered by: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, said: “The murder of Jo Cox MP three years ago shocked the nation.

“We remain determined to tackle right wing terror & extremism and encourage vibrant, united communities. We must continue the fight for a more tolerant Britain. #moreincommon”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson also shared a video of Mrs Cox’s maiden speech.

Using the hashtag #moreincommon, she said: “To honour Jo Cox, we must take inspiration from what she stood for – a passionate public servant who challenged hatred and believed our politics could be kinder, fairer, more inclusive. That spirit is more important today than ever before.”

PA

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