Jo Cox: The rise of Batley MP from Heckmondwike to Westminster

Jo Cox, 41, was elected as Batley & Spen MP at last year's election in succession to Mike Wood with a majority of 6,057 votes.

Thursday, 16th June 2016, 3:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:37 pm
Jo Cox at the Batley Train Station.

Born in Heckmondwike, and a graduate of Cambridge University, she was head of policy for Oxfam – and a prominent anti-slavery campaigner – before entering national politics.

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Jo Cox, Chair of the Friends of Syria All Party Parliamentary Group and MP for Batley and Spen.

A mother of two, she was one of 36 Labour MPs who endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature for the Labour leadership, though she later voted for Liz Kendall in the actual vote.

Since joining Parliament, she became co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Friends of Syria which she headed with former Tory minister Andrew Mitchell to build a greater understanding about the conflict in the Middle East.

In an article for The Yorkshire Post in September 2015, Ms Cox said that military intervention might be needed in Syria.

Jo Cox, Chair of the Friends of Syria All Party Parliamentary Group and MP for Batley and Spen.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m no war-monger. I opposed the Iraq war and worked for a decade as an Oxfam aid worker – but this isn’t Iraq. This is a humanitarian crisis,” she wrote.

“I don’t believe there will be a military solution to this conflict but I do believe there will be a military component to it. The vast majority of the fighting will be done by people from the region and by Syrians themselves, but that doesn’t mean that the UK shouldn’t play a role.”

A no nonsense individual, her contributions in Parliament commanded respect on both sides of the Commons.

A regular contributor to The Yorkshire Post’s opinion pages, she wrote in tribute to those volunteers who had transformed Batley Station in her consistency.

And just last Friday, she wrote a staunch defence of immigration policy ahead of the EU referendum.

A Remain campaigner, she said more needed to be done to help communities “facing the greatest pressures” but added: “Immigration is a legitimate concern, but it’s not a good reason to leave the EU. I very rarely agree with the Prime Minister but on this he’s right: we are stronger, safer and better off in.”

Ms Cox lived on a houseboat near Tower Bridge with her young family.