Tributes paid to Jo Cox

Written by Matt Ritchie

Former colleagues are paying tribute to Jo Cox, the Labour MP and former charity employee who died after being attacked yesterday.

The MP for Batley and Spen was shot and stabbed in the street before holding a constituency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire yesterday. The BBC reports 52-year-old Tommy Mair is being held over the attack.

Cox worked for Oxfam and Oxfam International between 2001 and 2009 in a variety of roles. As head of Oxfam's Brussels office she spearheaded the charity's campaign for trade reform. In 2005 she joined Oxfam GB as head of advocacy.

The 41-year-old mother of two met her husband, Brendan, working for the charity.

Oxfam GB's chief executive Mark Goldring said in a statement that the charity is proud of the role Cox played in its work.

"Many of our colleagues remember her fondly. The rest of us followed her work with admiration. She never lost her passion for peace, justice and equality. Everyone is deeply shocked to hear the news. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Brendan and Jo's family at this difficult time."

Former colleague Max Lawson paid tribute to Cox’s energy, idealism, and passion.

“She gave so much to Oxfam,” Lawson said in a statement. "She was an inspiring leader, really bringing the best out of all of us, always positive, always believing we could win, and always passionate for change. She was particularly brilliant at bringing huge energy to our campaigning around the desperate humanitarian crisis in Darfur."

Cox also worked for Freedom Fund, the anti-slavery charity, at its launch. Chief executive Nick Grono said colleagues were heartbroken at the loss of “a powerful champion for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised”.

“She was one of those rare people who really did fight tirelessly to make the world a better place. And with it all, Jo was warm, funny, fearless, and effective,” Grono said in a statement. “Jo was my first colleague at the Freedom Fund, joining our organisation in its startup weeks. In her time with us, Jo was instrumental in putting the Freedom Fund on a sound footing to successfully carry out its mission to fight modern slavery around the world. She left us to pursue her parliamentary career, and it’s simply incomprehensible that she lost her life while tirelessly serving her constituents.”

Cox joined Parliament after last year’s election. Other charity sector roles included advising NSPCC and Save the Children on their UK activities. She had also worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Charity leaders’ network Acevo also paid tribute to the committed campaigner. Interim chief executive Asheem Singh said in a statement: “The death of Jo Cox has left us numb. Our hearts go out to her husband and children. Public service and the charity sector have lost an exemplary leader. Her campaigning in arenas as diverse as Darfur and the rights of oppressed represented the very highest values held by charities and campaign groups of all shapes and sizes and the leaders who drive them. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with her husband Brendan in his call ‘to fight the hatred that killed her’. And we will take the lesson of her achievements by continuing to campaign for a better world for all with the same vigour and intelligence that Jo Cox brought to our lives."

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