Kim Leadbeater tells Commons she would 'give literally anything' not to be in Jo Cox's seat, as she makes her maiden speech as Batley and Spen MP

Kim Leadbeater told MPs that she would “give literally anything” to not be standing in the Commons seat once held by her sister, as she pledged to “make the case” for the people of Batley and Spen in her maiden speech of their MP.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 2:44 pm
Kim Leadbeater in her office at the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, ahead of making her maiden speech in the House of Commons during a backbench debate on the legacy of her sister, murdered MP Jo Cox. (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ms Leadbeater said that the constituency “has been through a lot in recent years, but time and again when others have sought to set us against each other, we have come together” as she spoke in a debate honouring the legacy of Jo Cox.

Mrs Cox’s husband Brendan and the sisters’ parents Jean and Gordon were sat in the House of Commons public gallery on Thursday afternoon to hear her Ms Leadbeater make her contribution.

Paying tribute to her sister, who was murdered as she worked in the constituency in 2016, Ms Leadbeater told new colleagues: “I hope members will understand that I mean no disrespect to this place when I say that I would give literally anything, not to be standing here today in her place.”

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She pointed to her sister’s “extraordinary” contribution to politics in her short year as an MP, describing her as “a compassionate and caring humanitarian, a proud Yorkshire lass, a friend to many – including a significant number of those who are sat today – a loving daughter and I’m delighted that our parents Jean and Gordon are here today, a fantastic sister-in-law and wife, an outstanding mum to Cuillin and Lejla – who remain full of Jo’s energy, optimism and spirit – and the best big sister anybody could ask for.”

The debate on Mrs Cox's legacy was put forward by Labour MP Neil Coyle alongside Conservative member Tracey Crouch.