The tragic death of Jo Cox was remembered in Westminster in Monday. There is little I can add to the tributes that has not already been said. All our thoughts must be with her husband and two young children at this time. Her murder is a reminder that terrorists can come from all sections of our community.
I cannot say that I knew Jo very well. She was a relatively new MP and our paths only crossed on a handful of occasions, but it is clear that she was genuinely loved by a number of colleagues. Jo’s murder has brought together politicians from all sides in paying tributes to her and her work.
One of the things that’s worth remembering is that Parliament is not just about the slanging match that people see on Prime Minister’s Questions. MPs frequently work together, across the political divide, on select committees and all party groups – important work which the public rarely sees. Jo Cox, in particular, worked across the political divide on issues that mattered to her such as Syria and the plight of refugees.
The murder has shocked us all because it is an attack on the democratic process and the right of the people of Batley & Spen to choose who represents them in Parliament. It would be a tragedy if, at a time when MPs have never needed to get out and meet their constituents more often, we retreat further behind locked doors and security cordons.
Jo’s death had nothing to do with the referendum although she was passionately committed to the Remain side.
Today we are all voting in the EU referendum. The biggest single decision our country will make this decade. I strongly believe that our country can prosper either inside or outside the EU. I also believe that both sides have made claims that will not stand up to scrutiny. However, as previously reported, I will be voting Remain because, in my view, our economy will be stronger and our prosperity greater if we make that choice today.
By tomorrow morning we will know the result – but whatever that is, our country must accept it and move on.