Jo Cox would have been touched by community response, widower says

Murdered MP Jo Cox would be "incredibly touched and astounded" by the response to a UK-wide community event to mark the anniversary of her death, her widower has said.

The Great Get Together will take place around the country between June 16 and 18, with events including street parties, BBQs, picnics, coffee mornings and tea parties.

Brendan Cox said he planned the event because Mrs Cox would "love the idea that the reaction to the attempt that her murder was to divide communities has actually brought communities together".

He travelled to Edinburgh on Wednesday where he met with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, representatives of all the main parties at the Scottish Parliament, and the Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh.

The Scottish Government has pledged its full support while the Parliament will host its own Great Get Together.

More than 100 organisations, including the Scottish Rugby team and Cricket Scotland have also backed the event.

He said: "The idea came from thinking about the anniversary of Jo's murder and, from my point of view, wanting to remember her as how she lived, someone who was full of energy, enthusiasm, a zest for life."

He added: "Jo would be incredibly touched by the scale of the response. I think she would be astounded by the level of the reaction."

Mother-of-two Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair in her Batley and Spen constituency on June 16 last year.

He was later handed a whole-life prison sentence for her murder.

The idea for the anniversary event came before the General Election for June 8 was announced, but Mr Cox said it would provide a reminder after the vote that there is more which binds people together than keeps them apart.

"The reason that Jo went into politics was much less about party politics and much more about her connection to her local community, the constituents of Batley and Spen where she grew up and spent her formative years," he said.

"There is a divisiveness and a tone of politics at the moment which I think most people don't feel represents them. I think people want a sense of togetherness, a sense of community."

He added: "Of course, the election will be divisive but that doesn't mean we have to lose sight of the bigger truth that actually, as my wife talked about in her maiden speech, there is more that unites us, we do have more in common than the things that divide us."

The Parliament will host its get-together on June 16, with people from Holyrood's local community invited to meet with MSPs.

Mr Macintosh said: "It was a genuine pleasure to welcome Brendan to the Scottish Parliament this afternoon and wonderful that, even during this busy election period, representatives from all the political parties made time for a 'mini get-together' to discuss what we can all do to support the events next month.

"Jo Cox was someone who wanted to make a difference yet was taken from us in the prime of her life. This is such a positive and inspiring way to remember her."

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