Mur­der of an MP was ‘in­evitable’

Greatrex speaks out about ‘fever pitch’ at­mos­phere

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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

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