Before she was attacked and killed Thursday, Jo Cox was known for her vocal stance in the Brexit debate — as well has her beloved persona in and out of Britain’s Parliament.
“You just can’t fault the woman. She was perfect in every single way,” fellow Labour Party politician Shabir Pandor said.
Cox, 41, was a staunch supporter of Britain voting to stay in the European Union — an issue that will go to a referendum next week. Authorities have not said what was the motive in her killing.
Cox, in a June 10 tweet, advocated her position.
“Immigration is a legitimate concern, but it’s not a good reason to leave the EU,” Cox wrote.
Hours before the attack, her husband Brendan tweeted a photo of the family in a boat campaigning to keep Britain in the EU.
“Kids seriously disappointed there isn’t another #Floatila today,” Brendan Cox tweeted hours before the attack.
But by Thursday afternoon, Cox went from a joking husband to a grieving widower.
“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love,” he said in a statement.
“Jo believed in a better world, and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.”
Cox also made a promise in his wife’s honor:
“I and Jo’s friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.”
Admired across party lines
Despite her stances that some opposed, Cox was highly respected across the political spectrum in Parliament.
Members of the opposing Conservative Party were among the first to speak of their grief and admiration of Cox.
“This is absolutely tragic and dreadful news,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said.
“She had a huge heart. She was a very compassionate, caring MP. She was a bright star — no doubt about it. A star for her constituents, a star in Parliament, and a star right across the House.”
Conservative Kirklees Councillor David Hall knew Cox for decades. The two became friends in school.
“She was a very vivacious girl, very sporty, very good at her studies educationally, very popular,” Hall said.
The two later entered public office, though on opposite ends of the political divide.
Despite that, Hall said, Cox “stood for fairness.” He said he saw potential for Cox to hold higher office.
“It saddens me greatly that she won’t realize those ambitions, if she had those ambitions,” he said.
Liberal Democrat politician Nick Clegg said Cox had a rare ability to connect with everyone, including political rivals.
“Jo Cox was unusually free of the tribal pettiness of politics — always friendly, cheerful and kind to friend and foe alike,” Clegg tweeted.
As for members of her Labour Party, Cox’s death marks an unimaginable loss.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Labour Party lawmaker Rushanara Ali said. “I don’t think anyone could think this could happen to such a courageous, kind and committed member of Parliament who was killed in the line of duty.”
Advocate for many causes
Before she was elected to Parliament last year, representing Batley and Spen, Cox. spent a decade with the aid agency Oxfam, her website states.
She also worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Freedom Fund, a charity trying to end the scourge of modern slavery.
Much of her work focused on women’s and children’s issues. Cox spent four years as national chair of the Labour Women’s Network, encouraging more women to enter public life.
Politically, she worked for Britain in Europe, pro-European campaign organization.
Labour politician Tristram Hunt said Cox’s contributions went far beyond Parliament.
“Jo Cox was a dedicated internationalist, passionate social justice campaigner, brilliant MP, & loving mother,” Hunt tweeted. “Her death is too wretched. RIP.”
First graduate, mother and wife
Cox was the first person from her family to graduate from university, her biography says.
When she wasn’t in Parliament, Cox split her time between her home in Batley and Spen and on her boat home on the River Thames with her husband and two children.
Brenden Cox said his slain wife would have wanted two things above all right now:
“One, that our precious children are bathed in love; and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”