POLITICS

Jo Cox Tribute: Her Life Had Real Meaning Says Friend Alison McGovern In Emotional Tribute

MPs united today to pay tribute to Jo Cox

20/06/2016 17:20 | Updated 20 June 2016

 

Jo Cox’s life had “real meaning” her friend Alison McGovern said today in an emotional tribute to her dead colleague.

Addressing a sombre House of Commons this afternoon, the Labour MP praised Jo’s compassion and support for others in a touching tribute.

With Jo’s husband and two children watching on from the public gallery, McGovern quoted from one of her friend’s own speeches in the Commons to highlight her desire to help people all over the world.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Prime Minister David Cameron also paid tribute to Jo, who was killed last Thursday on her way to carry out a constituency surgery in the village of Birstall in her Yorkshire constituency.

McGovern began her tribute by quoting from Jo’s speech in April, in which she called on the UK government to take in 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees in Europe.

“Who can blame desperate parents for wanting to escape the horror that their families are experiencing?

“Children are being killed on their way to school, one in three children have grown up knowing nothing but fear and war. Those children have been exposed to things no child should ever witness, and I know I would risk life and limb to get my two precious babies out of that hellhole,” quoted McGovern.

The Wirral South MP, wearing the white rose of Yorkshire as a tribute to her friend’s home county, described Jo as ​“a feminist whose activism saved women’s lives and whose political skill got women elected to this house.”

She added: “Half holding you upright, half shoving you forward, that is what it meant to have Jo’s arm around your shoulder and how we all long for those arms around our shoulder today for one more hug and definitely for one more smile. But it cannot be.”

In a passionate and emotional end to her tribute, McGovern said: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than the things that divide us.

“Cheap populism cannot take hold. Jo’s vision of our country, explained in that speech she made, we know in our hearts to be true. It’s not where you come from that matters, it’s the compassion and love in your heart. You might be ferociously proud of your home town, as Jo was, but you know that compassion doesn’t end at its boundaries.

“And here’s another thing that doesn’t end. Jo Cox’s life had real meaning. She gave love to us all and that can never be lost. We may feel lost today but inside us all the love is still there.”

After an hour of tributes, MPs broke out into applause – many directing it in the direction of Jo’s family – as they left the chamber to attend a memorial service in the nearby St Margaret’s Church.

  • POOL New / Reuters
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends after a service of rememberance for Labour MP Jo Cox who was shot and stabbed to death last week outside her constituency surgery, in Westminster, London, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Yui Mok/Pool
  • Yui Mok/PA Wire
    Prime Minister David Cameron attending a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP at St Margaret's Church, London.
  • Nick Ansell/PA Wire
    Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (second left) arrive with other MPs at St Margaret's Church, London, for a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP.
  • Yui Mok/PA Wire
    Chancellor George Osborne (second right) attending a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP at St Margaret's Church, London.
  • Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: British Prime Minister David Cameron (C) and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (3R) arrive at St Margaret's church on June 20, 2016 in London, England. Parliament was recalled from recess today so MPs could pay tribute to Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in her constituency last Thursday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: (L-R) Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party depart St Margaret's church on June 20, 2016 in London, England. Parliament was recalled from recess today so MPs could pay tribute to Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in her constituency last Thursday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrive with members of parliament at St Margaret's church on June 20, 2016 in London, England. Parliament was recalled from recess today so MPs could pay tribute to Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in her constituency last Thursday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
    Former Labour Leader Ed Milliband (rear, centre left) and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper (rear, centre) process from the Houses of Parliament to St Margaret's Church, London, for a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP.
  • Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
    Prime Minister David Cameron (third right) and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn (second right) lead MPs from the Houses of Parliament to St Margaret's Church, London, for a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP.
  • POOL New / Reuters
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends after a service of rememberance for Labour MP Jo Cox who was shot and stabbed to death last week outside her constituency surgery, in Westminster, London, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Yui Mok/Pool
  • Yui Mok/PA Wire
    Neil and Glenys Kinnock attending a service of prayer and remembrance to commemorate Jo Cox MP at St Margaret's Church, London.
  • Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
    BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: People view the growing carpet of floral tributes left in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Market Square, Birstall on June 20, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was about to hold her weekly constituency surgery in Birstall Library last Thursday (June 16, 2016) when she was shot and stabbed in the street. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
  • PA/PA Wire
    MPs applaud in the House of Commons, London, after they paid tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
  • Toby Melville / Reuters
    A woman views tributes in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Toby Melville / Reuters
    People view tributes in memory of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Toby Melville / Reuters
    Rain drops land on a framed photograph of murdered Labour Party MP Jo Cox, who was shot dead in Birstall, at Parliament Square in London, Britain June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Toby Melville / Reuters
    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron walks from Parliament to St Margaret's Church for a service of rememberance for Labour MP Jo Cox who was shot and stabbed to death last week outside her constituency surgery, in Westminster, London, June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
  • Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrive at St Margaret's church on June 20, 2016 in London, England. Parliament was recalled from recess today so MPs could pay tribute to Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in her constituency last Thursday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
    BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: A growing carpet of floral tributes left in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Market Square, Birstall on June 20, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was about to hold her weekly constituency surgery in Birstall Library last Thursday (June 16, 2016) when she was shot and stabbed in the street. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
  • Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
    BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: A growing carpet of floral tributes left in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Market Square, Birstall on June 20, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was about to hold her weekly constituency surgery in Birstall Library last Thursday (June 16, 2016) when she was shot and stabbed in the street. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
  • Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
    BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: People view the growing carpet of floral tributes left in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Market Square, Birstall on June 20, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was about to hold her weekly constituency surgery in Birstall Library last Thursday (June 16, 2016) when she was shot and stabbed in the street. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
  • Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
    BIRSTALL, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: A growing carpet of floral tributes left in memory of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in Market Square, Birstall on June 20, 2016 in Birstall, United Kingdom. The Labour MP for Batley and Spen was about to hold her weekly constituency surgery in Birstall Library last Thursday (June 16, 2016) when she was shot and stabbed in the street. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
  • NIKLAS HALLE'N via Getty Images
    A Union flags flies at half mast over Portcullis House in front of the clock face of Queen Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) at the Houses of Parliament in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
  • NIKLAS HALLE'N via Getty Images
    The British union flag flies at half-mast above the Victoria Tower on the Palace of Westminster in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: British Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrive at St Margaret's church on June 20, 2016 in London, England. Parliament was recalled from recess today so MPs could pay tribute to Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in her constituency last Thursday. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
  • PA/PA Wire
    MPs applaud in the House of Commons, London, after they paid tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
  • PA/PA Wire
    A white and red rose lie on Jo Cox's empty seat in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to her.
  • PA/PA Wire
    Labour Co-operative Jonathan Reynolds speaks in the House of Commons, London, as MPs gather to pay tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
  • PA/PA Wire
    MPs applaud in the House of Commons, London, after they paid tribute to Labour MP Jo Cox.
  • NIKLAS HALLE'N via Getty Images
    The British union flag flies at half-mast above the Victoria Tower on the Palace of Westminster in honour of slain Labour MP Jo Cox in London on June 20, 2016. British lawmakers gathered Monday to honour a murdered colleague, attempting a rare show of unity in a heated, neck-and-neck race for votes three days before a referendum on whether to quit the EU. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
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