House of Lords, 20th June 2016
My 86 year old Auntie Eileen was keen to assure me yesterday that she had voted for Jo Cox this week – what she meant she had voted Remain, because Jo said she should. During the General Election last year Jo Cox had talked to her and she said how lovely she was and that she voted for her, and thus joined the rest of the world in our admiration of this Labour woman.
I am rich in Aunts Uncles and Cousins who live in and around Spen Valley, where I was born and where both my parents, and grandparent were born. My father was a Labour Party member until he died last year – unfortunately before he could vote for Jo Cox.
Like Jo Cox, I too am proud to have been made in Yorkshire. I joined people to pay my respects to this amazing woman in the Birstall town square yesterday.
There was such a sense of deep sadness and loss, and talking to people - they know the national and international significance of the political assassination of their local and much loved MP. Ordinary decent Yorkshire folk who cannot believe this has happened in their town.
I was not sure whether I should speak today, because unlike others I only knew and grew to admire Jo Cox in the last few years, but my family and friends said a local Yorkshire voice should be heard in the House today, and say that this is not what people in Batley and Spen Valley are like. To say how terribly shocked they are at the waste of a lovely, warm, vibrant, effective, honest and special politician who had belonged to them. And they wonder like my Auntie Marie, another Aunties, who said to me yesterday, "What have we done to create a world where this can happen?".