Jo Cox's MP Sister Says She Will Never Hold Open Constituency Surgeries

“People in Batley and Spen fully respect and understand that," Kim Leadbeater said.
Kim Leadbeater poses with her medal after being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Kim Leadbeater poses with her medal after being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
STEVE PARSONS via Getty Images

The MP sister of Jo Cox has said she will never agree to hold open surgeries with voters.

Kim Leadbeater, who won her sister’s old seat in a by-election in 2021, said much more needed to be done to protect politicians.

The Labour MP for Batley and Spen also admitted she had still not grieved seven years on from her sister’s murder.

In an interview with Gloria De Piero on GB News, Leadbeater said: “For lots of MPs things changed after Jo was killed around engagement with the public.

“Some MPs still do open surgeries, I don’t, and I never will. People in Batley and Spen fully respect and understand that.

“I think, unfortunately, because of what happened to Sir David Amess, other MPs have reviewed it in light of that. But you need to be accessible. And that’s the balance. And I want to be accessible.”

David Amess and Jo Cox
David Amess and Jo Cox
Getty / PA

Leadbeater said she does a lot of appointments in the office but they have to all be “pre-arranged”.

“Let’s pray that it never happens again,” Leadbeater said. “But it’s happened twice now, and that for me is enough to know that that is not the way of doing this job safely.”

Cox was murdered in 2016 by an extreme rightwing terrorist who repeatedly shot and stabbed her in an attack during the EU referendum campaign.

Amess was murdered in 2021 by an IS fanatic who stabbed the Conservative MP for Southend West more than 20 times after tricking his way into a constituency surgery.

Leadbeater said she carries three alarms to help safeguard against the risk of attack.

“One of those I just carry just because I’m a woman. But then a couple of others are linked to the police,” she said.

“The last thing I want is for my parents, or partner, or family and friends, to get that phone call that you know, no one should ever have to get.”

During the interview, due to be broadcast on Sunday at 6pm, Leadbeater also spoke about the day her sister died.

“My phone went,” she said. “And it was Jo’s husband saying that Jo had been attacked.

“As soon as I heard that, I knew this was not going to be good. I just knew. I started shaking.

“I remember getting in my car, driving home, and then the rest is sort of quite a blur. I haven’t revisited it very much. I haven’t had any counselling.”

Leadbeater admitted that she had not grieved yet, adding: “I’m nervous about grieving, because as soon as you open that box, you can’t put it back in.”


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