Murder of an MP was ‘inevitable’
Greatrex speaks out about ‘fever pitch’ atmosphere
An incident like the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox was “sadly inevitable” according to the former MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.
Tom Greatrex, who knows Ms Cox’s husband, Brendan, told the Reformer he was shocked at her death, but “not surprised,” that an MP had been attacked in this way.
Alluding to the two major referendums that have taken place in the country over the past few years, Mr Greatrex told the Reformer: “An atmosphere and general impression of hostility, condemnation and lack of perspective contaminates a lot of political debate conducted in the simplistic environment of 140 character expressions of angry intolerance.”
He added: “If we have – as we have had for at least the last three years – a political debate that is dominated by angrily and simplistically defining people by their difference, of grievance against the ‘other’, and of a lack of tolerance of different views to such an extent that it reaches an absurd fever pitch – then that atmosphere does little to help appreciate the balanced and careful, not always black and white judgements that MPs make each and every day.
“I did not know Jo all that well, although our paths had crossed, and I do know her husband, Brendan, but I know absolutely as a parent just how difficult it is to juggle a young family with being in parliament.
“But those children will now grow up without their mother for the most senseless, sad and pointless of reasons – just because she was trying to do her job.”
Rutherglen’s political community were among thousands across the UK to pay tribute to Ms Cox, who was shot and stabbed in Birstall, part of her Batley and Spen constituency.
Lord McAvoy of Rutherglen said the Labour Party had lost one of its brightest stars: “It’s absolutely tragic.
“She was a very talented woman. I never knew her, but she was heading for the very top ranks of the Labour Party.
“Jo was very articulate and she did her homework.
“You can always tell who has done their research on an issue and she always came across like she had.
“She was an outstanding performer and one of those who gave us hope for the future.”
Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier also paid tribute and admitted the terrifying incident raised concerns about the safety of her staff.
She said: “We have to keep doing our job, that’s why we were elected. There is an element of risk, not so much for us when we are on the parliamentary estate, but for our staff who stay in the constituency.
“I was coming back from London and heard the news and just couldn’t believe it.
“My thoughts are with her husband, two young children and all her colleagues and the wider Labour movement as well as her staff and the community of Birstall.
“She seemed a really lovely and popular young lady.”
Tragedy Tributes have been left all over the UK to murdered MP Jo Cox