A year after she was killed by a far-right extremist, Jo Cox’s legacy lives on in the foundation set up in her name and the determination of many to promote her values and the issues close to her heart.
Now the MP has been honoured in Parliament with a memorial plaque inspired by her life.
Cox’s children, six-year-old son Cuillin and daughter Lejla, four, helped design the plaque and unveiled it on Saturday (24 June) during a ‘family day’ in the House of Commons.
Jo’s husband, Brendan, wrote on Twitter that it was a “lovely day” and a “beautiful occasion”.
Inspired by Jo’s famous maiden speech, in which she said “we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us”, the plaque bears the motto “more in common”.
The design is intended to represent her love of mountains and rivers (she lived with her family in a houseboat on the Thames) and her support for women. The four roses symbolise Jo, Brendan and their two children; two are red to honour her political party, Labour, and two are white for her home county of Yorkshire.
MP Harriet Harman wrote on Twitter that the design represented, “Syria, feminism, Yorkshire, Labour, mountains, Thames”.
Brendan told ITV News that the memorial was “incredibly touching”.
“I think the attack on Jo was obviously an attack on her and the things she believed in, but it was also an attack on Parliament and on democracy,” he said. “So the fact that Parliament is honouring her in this way – and as long as this building stands, there will be that memory of her and what she stood for – is really important to us and the wider family.”
Jo was shot and stabbed in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on 16 June 2016 as she attended a constituent surgery. Her murderer, who witnesses reported as shouting “Britain First” repeatedly and who the judge condemned for “an admiration for Nazis and similar anti-democratic white supremacist creeds”, was given a whole-life sentence in November 2016.
Since her untimely death, which came in the middle of heated campaigning over the EU referendum, Brendan has campaigned tirelessly to promote her values of equality, inclusivity and tolerance.
On the very day she died, he released an emotional statement urging unity over hatred, saying Jo would have “wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”
He later wrote a powerful essay on the normalisation of hatred and the duty of politicians to speak out against bigotry.
He established the Jo Cox Foundation to advance the issues she cared about, including loneliness and social isolation, and on the anniversary of her death this month, thousands of events were held across the UK under the banner Great Get Together in memory of the MP.
Main image: twitter.com/HarrietHarman