'I am extremely angry but I'm not giving in' - sister of Jo Cox criticises toxic language in Parliament

Kim Leadbeater.
Kim Leadbeater.

The sister of Jo Cox has reiterated the importance of 'respect' after the 'toxic' atmosphere in Parliament on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson came under fire from MPs Paula Sherriff and Tracy Brabin for using language which was 'divisive', before adding the best way of honouring Jo Cox would be to "get Brexit done".

Speaker of the House John Bercow said this morning (Thursday) that "the culture was toxic" and asked both sides to "treat each other as opponents and not as enemies".

The feeling was very much echoed by Jo's sister Kim Leadbeater, who said it was time to "draw a line" under the recent bitter rhetoric.

Kim, who has been at the forefront of various projects in Jo's memory aiming to bring more people together, said: "All we're doing is shouting at each other and not listening."

She said: "I watched Parliament last night and I was dumbstruck by some of the things I saw. But my reaction this morning was that we need to draw a line under the ways we are talking to one another and just show each other respect."

Jo's successor Tracy Brabin was harshly critical of language used in Parliament on Wednesday, adding the Prime Minister's language was "utterly calculated".

"I think he's incredibly clever. I think what he's doing is trying to set people against the establishment, but really, he is the establishment.

"What is said in the chamber is left the next day in my inbox.

"It's absolutely and utterly calculated, and that's what makes it worse - that it's part of a scheme to further divide us."

Tracy added that despite the ongoing chaos in Parliament, "we have to bring our communities back together".

"Jo's attitude to all of this would have been to find a solution rather than ending up in some sort of dead end and fighting among ourselves.

"I have people [in Batley & Spen] who are really angry at me, who shake their fists at me. But at the end of the day they are still my constituents. I am here to use my knowledge and understanding to help them, but we have to show each other respect."

Kim added that speaking to people at events such as the Great Get Together, which was founded by herself and Jo's parents in 2017, made her remember the importance of respecting each other's differences.

"It's about reconnecting on a human level.

"We are all human. We all have to go to work and feed our kids. People talk of 'echo chambers', but meeting people with different views should be a positive thing.

"Jo's legacy has been building bridges across the country. It's making a difference everywhere.

"I am extremely angry, but I'm not giving into that anger. I'm trying to channel it in a positive way."