The world falls silent today for Jo Cox on what should have been her 42nd birthday

The widower and two young children of tragic MP Jo Cox will join her friends, colleagues and high-profile campaigners today as communities around the world gather to celebrate what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 10:57 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 11:58 am

Education campaigner Malala Yousafzai will be among the guest speakers at an hour-long rally in London’s Trafalgar Square from 4pm, at which the late Labour politician’s husband Brendan and their children - three-year-old daughter Lejla and son Cuillin, five - are also expected to be present.

Organisers said the events, being held in a variety of locations, will be a tribute to Ms Cox’s “love, energy, passion, flair, Yorkshire heritage and belief in the humanity of every person in every place”.

Other events will be held in several locations, including in Jo’s hometown of Batley where her parents and sister will be present, organisers said. at Market Square at 4pm.

International events will also take place in Beirut, Brussels, Melbourne, Nairobi, New York, and Washington DC.

A similar tribute is expected to be held at Glastonbury’s Park Stage, while a charity album of music recorded by bands including Coldplay and Muse at the festival this weekend will be released in Ms Cox’s honour.

A moment of silence will be observed at 4.25pm (BST) in London and around the world.

Jo Cox.

Google posted a link to Mrs Cox’s memorial on its homepage.

On the eve of the events, Mr Cox has said his wife was killed for her political views and promised to continue to fight to ensure her political legacy is remembered.

In an emotional first interview since Mrs Cox was killed, Mr Cox said her strong opinions had led to her attack.

The charity worker said the Batley-born MP, who was in favour of remaining in the EU, had raised concerns many times about the increasing polarisation of politics around the world, from across the political spectrum.

He said: “I think she was very worried that the language was coarsening, that people were being driven to take more extreme positions, that people didn’t work with each other as individuals and on issues, it was all much too tribal and unthinking.”

Asked by the BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg about people using her death within the public discussion, he said: “She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views.

“I think she died because of them, and she would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life.

“I don’t want people ascribing views to her she didn’t have, but I certainly want to continue to fight for the legacy and the politics and the views that she espoused.”

Jo Cox.

He said a fitting tribute to his wife would be that the next MP for Batley and Spen is a woman. If elected, she would become the 100th female Labour MP.

He said: “Jo was a passionate feminist who actively campaigned to get more women into Parliament. I think she would have been very annoyed with me that if I had decided that when an angry man kills a young female MP that she would be replaced by another man.”

He said Jo loved her job as an MP, representing the area where she grew up with her dad Gordon, mother Jean and sister Kim.

He said: “She struggled with some elements of being an MP.

“She hated the polarisation but actually she loved the job because it enabled her to make a difference at an international and national level.

“One of the things that she loved was just talking to people who had issues and helping them, whether that was with their drains or their autistic child not getting a referral. She just liked helping.

“Every time she did a constituency surgery she missed the train because she wanted to help her constituents on a very human level.”

Family and friends will pay tribute to her by floating a flower-laden dingy up the Thames today.

It will travel from the mooring where she lived on a houseboat with her family near Wapping.

Mr Cox said: “I also hope it will bring people together.”

He added: “The public reaction has been off the scale.

“What the public support and outpouring of support and love around this does, is, it also helps the children see that what they are feeling, other people are feeling.

“That the grief that they feel isn’t abnormal.”

• Thomas Mair, 52, from Birstall, has appeared at the Old Bailey charged with murdering Mrs Cox, grievous bodily harm against Mr Kenny, possession of a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of a knife.