Staff of late MP recognised as ‘unsung heroes’

Sandra Major.

Sandra Major.

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A senior figure in the Labour Party has paid tribute to the dedicated constituency staff of the late MP Jo Cox after they carried on her work in the wake of her murder.

Paul Ferguson, regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber Labour Party, praised the “unsung heroes” for continuing with day-to-day office duties, casework and queries while at the same time dealing with their own grief and, later, giving evidence at the trial of her killer.

Fazila Aswat.

Fazila Aswat.

The court heard how office manager Fazila Aswat and senior caseworker Sandra Major were with Mrs Cox when far right extremist Thomas Mair carried out the deadly assault, for which he is now serving a life sentence.

Mr Ferguson said: “Both Fazila Aswat and Sandra Major have shown the most amazing courage and stamina this year. Fazila and Sandra have had to endure a horrendous time and have had very little recognition of this.”

Following Mrs Cox’s death in June, both Ms Aswat and Ms Major returned to work at the constituency office in Batley along with co-workers Dan Howard and Dathan Tedesco.

They worked alongside Halifax MP Holly Lynch who oversaw the office until the election of new Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin.

Jo Cox

Jo Cox

Ms Brabin yesterday paid tribute to the grace and dignity of the two women, who now work in her team.

“I am in awe of how heroic both of them have been,” she said. They have shown such grace and dignity in the most terrible of times, not only continuing to keep the office open but putting staff members in place when they went to the trial which was very challenging for them. They are proper Yorkshire women and won’t be diminished by hatred. They deserve every plaudit.”

Next month, Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves and Conservative Seema Kennedy will launch a campaign combating loneliness using evidence put together by Mrs Cox and 13 charities.