Sister of murdered MP Jo Cox speaks out in first interview since the killing of Sir David Amess

Ten days ago Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed to death during an operation in the constituency in his own Southend district of Leigh-on-Sea.

Two days after the 69-year-old Amess was murdered, police identified the incident as terrorist and likely motivated by Islamic extremism.

Last week, Ali Harbi Ali, 25, a British citizen of Somali descent, was charged with the murder of Sir David and preparation of terrorist acts.

Sir David has joined the list of British MPs killed while serving as MPs.

This list also includes former Labor politician Jo Cox, who was brutally murdered outside a library in West Yorkshire in broad daylight in June 2016.

In May of that year, Jo’s sister Kim Leadbeater was elected as a Labor candidate for Batley and Spen, the constituency represented by her late sister.

Today Kim was interviewed for the first time since the death of Sir David Amess. In an exclusive conversation with presenter Christine Lampard, who stood up for an absent Lorraine Kelly on today’s show, she said:

“A terrible time. David’s family is at the forefront of my thoughts right now, but it has brought back an awful lot of terrible memories for us as a family and for the community that served Jo, the people of Batley and Spen.

“I guess what we have to think about now, where do we go from here?”

Cox, who served as representative of the Batley and Spen parliamentary constituency in West Yorkshire, was shot in the head and then stabbed multiple times while preparing for constituency surgery.

Kim's sister Jo was murdered by white racist Thomas Mair in June 2016.

A few months later, Jo’s murderer was arrested. Fifty-two year old Thomas Mair, a Batley and Spen voter and white racist with far-right views, was arrested and later charged with murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm with intent to use, and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole.

Kim is also currently calling for more work to be done to ensure the safety of MPs and other public figures.

She said, “The reality is that we will probably never get to a point where there is no risk to MPs and everyone in public life because we are all human and we all have to spend our day. today’s life.

“But I think we need to do a serious MEP security review now; we need to talk seriously about online and offline abuse.”

“The overall picture is that we as a society have to look at how we treat our fellow human beings. It’s not just about politicians, it’s about other people in public and also about people who go about their jobs. like family doctors who, unfortunately, are currently experiencing huge amounts of abuse from people and even people who work in stores. “

“We need to see where the anger is coming from and how we can actually begin to be a little more compassionate with one another.

“Much of this was said about politics after Jo was killed, and unfortunately I’m not sure much has changed.”

Kim’s election as Batley and Spen’s new deputy has proved controversial in parliament because she had recently joined the Labor party.

Fortunately for Kim, however, the rule that potential candidates had to be a member of the party for a year before being nominated was later waived.

It was elected on July 1, 2012 with a 323 majority.

Kim Leadbeater spoke in the Chamber of Commons earlier this month as MPs gathered to pay tribute to Sir David Amess.

“It was the biggest decision of my life to introduce myself,” she told the Lorraine crowd. “I never saw myself as someone who would get into politics, but I did it for the right reasons and I want to make a difference for the people of Batley and Spen.

“I want to try to make a difference for the country that I love and that I’m really proud of, and that’s why most people go into politics – because it is important to them and they want to make a difference.

“But unfortunately you are dehumanized if you put on this hat as a member of parliament.

“Suddenly you’re fair game and people can say what they want. That really upsets me.

“After Jo’s murder, I had a lot of conversations with MPs who said their children would say to them, ‘Mom, don’t go to work, I’m really scared’ – and we forget that everyone is someone’s mother, or sister, or dad, or Brothers.

“We’re losing the sense of who this person is because we’re giving them a label and a badge. I think that has to change.”

Kim also talked about how her family is doing, since they lost Jo a little over five years ago.

“I think David’s murder hit us really hard.

Kim announced that she thinks a lot about David's family and is able to open up to their grief.

“My parents really had problems and I think Jo’s kids really had problems – they were three and five when Jo was killed. They understand what is going on, so it was really hard for us.”

“I think the ultimate feeling for all of us was this poor family – another poor family to go through this all over again.

“I’ve thought a lot about David’s wife and children – they have started this roller coaster ride now that no family should ever go on.”

Sir David leaves behind his wife, Julia Arnold, who was also his part-time clerk, and a son and four daughters.

Kim, who was awarded an MBE at the 2021 New Years Honors for her contribution to social cohesion and her work in the Batley community, asked, “How do we protect democracy, but how do we protect the people who protect themselves set? Would you like to be part of this democracy? These are the conversations that need to be held now. ”

“Most people go into politics because they care about people and want to help them. Some of the most powerful things you do in your job are individual families who come to you with nowhere else to go – whether they’re trying to get a diagnosis for their children with autism or ADHD, or with problems helps in the community – therefore do it!

“You need to maintain this accessibility, but we need to find ways to do it safely. I think this needs to be fully reviewed now.”

Kim also praised West Yorkshire Police for keeping her safe during their official visits, but said it isn’t always as obvious as she’d hoped it would be.

Kim on the police protection of MPs: "You don't want people to get nervous when you come and talk to you, but I think we need to find a balance on that."

“I think there are options. It can be quite subtle because you don’t want people to get nervous when you come and talk to you because the police are very present, but I think we have to strike a balance on this. ”

Finally, Kim spoke about the risks a public figure poses to his or her safety on social media.

“I’m working with colleagues on the Online Harms Bill, a bill that is going through parliament to investigate what’s happening on social media.

“It’s really hard, isn’t it, because anonymity is important to some people – be they whistleblowers or people who need to protect their identities for security reasons – but I think we have to get to a point where the default is” that the People online are not anonymous and if there is a good reason we have to try to find ways to make this work. “

The Online Harms Bill was created to combat content or activity that harms individual users or threatens the way we live in the UK, including terrorist groups, illegal content, and abuse and bullying.

“We have to realize that things don’t happen in a vacuum. You can think that things just happen on social media, but no, that’s what happens in the real world. I had colleagues who, yes, received massive abuse on the Internet, but they were also yelled at in the street, and things were thrown at them on the street as well.

“We cannot look at these things in isolation, they go hand in hand.”

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