The murder of an MP

Today Parliament meets to commemorate the life and work of Jo Cox, and to mourn her untimely passing. Yesterday I spoke in Wokingham Market place when we met to remember the murdered MP.

Sometimes you do not appreciate you have something or someone of value until they are gone.

I have been very moved by constituents writing to me to share grief at her death, and to thank me for what I do as an MP. That was unexpected. Many other MPs have experienced the same thing.

The death of Jo Cox seems to have reminded people of the good points of our Parliamentary democracy. People are usually quick to condemn the personal failings and political mistakes MPs all too often make. That is part of the strength of our system. Voters are right to expect high standards and to complain when MPs lapse. I am glad I live in a country where you know who to blame and can blame them openly when you think they are wrong.

The murder of an MP because she wished to be approachable, carrying out her duties to consult, listen and try to remedy problems has reminded us that there is a lot right with our system of government and a lot wrong with the murderer. The presence of an accountable well known figure in each place, answerable to a limited number of electors and keen to help and represent them is an essential part of our being a democracy.

Voters can get help or representation from their MP, whether they share the same party and outlook or not. Every voter has an equal say in choosing that MP, and an equal chance of influencing that MP’s views and votes in Parliament. Today when we grieve for a young life cut short needlessly and violently, we can be proud of our Parliamentary system. Modern government is big, distant and often clumsy. Keeping a local accountable person to help guide government to better ways, and to stand up for individuals in need of justice or support is a crucial part of our inheritance. I thank the public for recognising that. MPs in turn have to live up to expectations of good conduct, and show just how they make power accountable.

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5 Comments

  1. DaveM
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t want to sound heartless regarding this event.

    However, MPs are easy targets, as you imply, particularly for someone who wants to make a big statement with sparse resources and doesn’t particularly care about the consequences to him/herself.

    Big security issues here beyond physical security. Sad to say that, from what I hear and read about her, Ms Cox would have been one of the first to promote the human rights of the kind of person who may wish to kill her to make a political statement.

    Time to address the British Bill of Rights and the ability to detain or deport suspected terrorists??

  2. Horatio McSherry
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    The murder of Jo Cox by a seemingly mentally unwell man was shocking and, for me, genuinely upsetting; especially as it was in a constituency very near to me.

    There is a big “however” though.

    What I’ve found almost as depressing (as someone who doesn’t generally think the worst of all MPs) is that MPs – our kind host excluded – seem to have learned nothing since the expenses scandal and that they still seem so narcissistic that they want to show the public “MPs stand together shoulder to shoulder” as if they see themselves as martyrs. The idea of MPs sitting on eachothers benches was particularly nauseating. The public already assume that MPs do stand together, but to protect their own interests. This message genuinely seems not to have gotten through.

  3. Tom Oliva
    Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    As the father of motherless children for 20+ years (in traumatic circumstances) – I have more than passing sympathy for the family in this.

    Where my sympathy evaporates is when the matter is leveraged for personal gain and that line *has* been crossed by way too many people in this matter.

    We know little of Thomas Mair and its my view that until we do – restraint and respect should reasonably prevail. Let’s have the facts and a bit of decorum – something that’s an alien concept to the likes of Will Straw perhaps?

    • rose
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more. This is the 8th MP to be murdered, but the first time we have suspended decorum and facts. Rachel Reeves pleaded for her friend’s death not to be exploited, but to no avail. We know it is for ruthless political and financial ends, but it is still profoundly shocking. Not just politicians like the Kinnochs, but also journalists and broadcasters are abusing their power round the clock, day after day, and all to the detriment of the country. It won’t stop till the polling booths have shut.

  4. adams
    Posted June 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    My comment about (Jo Cox’s voting in Commons ed)as too much for your sensitive soul John ?
    The same comment was “moderated ” out of existence by the Daily Mirror !!!
    Strange bedfellows you keep in answer to a simple question . Still , it has been noted .

    Reply I do not have time to check your facts, do not know the circumstances of the matter and think it wrong to criticise her following her tragic death.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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