General election campaign paused to remember MP Jo Cox

The general election campaign will be put on hold later as politicians set aside their differences to remember Labour MP Jo Cox.

Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders will stop campaigning for an hour to honour the mother-of-two who was murdered last June.

Her widower Brendan Cox said it would “send a powerful message” ahead of the first anniversary of her death.

A cross-party fundraising event is planned in her former constituency.

‘Better balance’

Mr Cox said the co-ordinated suspension of campaigning would send a message that “whatever our political disagreements, we really do hold more in common and show a united front against hatred and extremism in all its forms”.

He added: “Elections are huge moments of national importance and deserve to be taken seriously. But we also need to get a better balance.

“We spend way too much time fixated on the areas we disagree with each other and need to create more moments where we come together as a country.

“That’s what I’m focused on and after polling day, I am sure that’s exactly what people all over the UK will be crying out for.”


Brendan CoxImage caption: Brendan Cox has organised three days of activities to mark the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death

Mrs Cox used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to say: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

To mark the anniversary of her death, Mr Cox has organised the Great Get Together from June 16 to 18, where thousands of community gatherings such as street parties, picnics and coffee mornings will be held across the country.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme that the trauma of his wife’s death was “for us, as a family… something that goes on and on.

“Individual days can be worse – and better. It’s not just the big moments.

“The kids are incredibly excited about the Great Get Together, they love planning a party. They know that their mum would have loved it.”

Cross-party support

On Sunday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will pause campaigning on a visit to an arts centre in Liverpool.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron will be at a community picnic in Kendal in his constituency and Green leader Caroline Lucas will be at a church project in Brighton.

Prospective MPs from across the different parties will join Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale at Edinburgh’s Serenity Cafe on Sunday to remember the Labour MP.

In Mrs Cox’s former constituency of Batley and Spen, in West Yorkshire, the Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and Green candidates will come together at a farmers’ event raising money for a special care baby unit.

The 41-year-old was shot and stabbed multiple times by right-wing extremist Thomas Mair in her constituency. Mair was later handed a whole-life prison sentence for her murder.

BBC.CO.UK

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Panos Sfaelos

Journalist - Chief Editor

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