Sunday 16 June marks the third anniversary of Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox’s murder and the week after that is the third anniversary of the Brexit vote.
The UK lost not only one of our most promising female MPs, but a genuinely forward-thinking compassionate change maker.
Jo, was first elected as Batley & Spen Labour MP in May 2015 with a 43 per cent majority, making Batley & Spen a safe seat for Labour.
Jo made an impactful and passionate maiden speech in parliament following her election, a speech which is still spoken about four years on, reminding us all that we “have far more in common than which divides us.
Jo’s death sparked a series of unity events, with special prayers being held in Jo’s memory at religious places of worship such as mosques and churches.
The Labour MP’s death also led to the creation of the nationwide movement the ‘Great Get Together’, which brings communities together in a display of unity as well as in memory of Jo.
Last year it was believed that around 122,000 social gatherings took place across the country, which otherwise would never have happened.
These visible displays of unity matter, more so now than ever, as the division in opinions over Brexit continues, along with the rise of hate, be it Islamophobia, anti-semitism or any other.
However, despite all the visibility and success of the Great Get Together sister of Jo Cox, Kim Leadbeater, who has been championing unity projects in Jo’s name, believes that things have ‘got progressively worse and that the political debate is even less tolerant than when her sister was killed by a right-wing extremist three years ago.
Speaking on the third anniversary of her sibling and Labour MP Jo’s death, Kim Leadbeater said: “I think unfortunately things were pretty bad in 2016 when Jo was killed but I think it’s probably fair to say that they have got progressively worse.”
There was “a short period of time when politicians and other people said we have to do things differently in the aftermath of Jo’s murder”, before things went downhill again, she told Sky News.
Kim said: “There is absolutely nothing wrong with robust debate and passionate discussion; we live in a democracy in a country where I am so proud, we can do those things.
“But actually, we also need to treat each other with respect and civility, and I think we’ve lost sight of that a little bit in recent times.”
As we approach the Great Get Together Celebrations on 22 June, let’s hope that Jo’s legacy continues and we don’t forget our common values and keep the hope that despite the tragedy and all the wrong that’s happening in our multi-cultural and diverse country we can still fix things and hope for a more united future.