Sister of Jo Cox reveals partner asked her to resign as MP over safety fears

15 October 2021, 19:06

Kim Leadbeater was elected to the same seat as her sister, Jo Cox, earlier this year.
Kim Leadbeater was elected to the same seat as her sister, Jo Cox, earlier this year. Picture: alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

The sister of Jo Cox has revealed her partner wants her to step down as an MP over safety fears.

Labour MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire Kim Leadbeater said she is "frightened" following the fatal attack on the Tory MP at a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

She made the comments following the fatal stabbing of MP Sir David Amess this afternoon.

Ms Leadbeater's sister, Labour MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a far-right terrorist on her way to a constituency surgery in 2016.

In 2021 Ms Leadbeater ran for election in the same seat her sister had represented, and was successfully elected on 2 July.

But she revealed this afternoon that upon hearing the news of Sir David's death, her partner "said he didn't want me to do it any more because the next time that phone goes, it could be a different conversation."

Read more: Tory MP Sir David Amess stabbed to death as suspect arrested on suspicion of murder

Read more: 'Our hearts are filled with shock and sadness': PM's tribute to Sir David Amess

Following the attack Ms Leadbeater said she is "totally shocked by what has happened."

She said she felt "scared and frightened - a real rollercoaster of emotions.

"The shock and the feelings for us as a family, obviously what we went through and another family are going through that again, it's horrific.

"It's hard to put into words how that feels for me."

Sir David was stabbed multiple times at Belfairs Methodist Church. Air ambulance and ambulance crews attended the scene and attempted to aid the MP for more than two hours, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Read more: Eye witnesses tell of their shock after Tory MP stabbed to death at constituency surgery

He leaves behind a wife and five children.

Ms Leadbeater emphasised the importance of recognising the impact such as attack will have on Sir David's loved ones.

Their lives "have changed forever today," she said, adding: "I know for them now that their lives will never be the same again, they will think about this every single day for the rest of their lives.

Read more: Number of MPs attacked on the job while in office raises concerns about security

Read more: MPs and politicians share tributes for Sir David Amess after stabbing death

Ms Leadbeater said being an MP has risks and many MPs will be "scared" by what has happened.

"It's so hard because you have a job to do," she said.

"I find myself now working as a politician and trying to do good things for people and it's really important you get good people in public life, but this is the risk we are all taking and so many MPs will be scared by this.

"Even David's staff - so many other people today will have been out there trying to do the right thing, trying to do a really important job in public life, and this happens.

"The main people on my mind are David's family and friends and I know the rollercoaster that they will now be on."

Following the tragic incident concerns have been raised about MPs' safety.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: "In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs' security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David's family, friends and colleagues."

PM Boris Johnson said the issue would be "considered in the proper time" but that today was "a moment for us to think of Sir David, his wife, his family, and our thoughts are very much with them".

Essex Police arrested a 25-year-old on suspicion of murder. They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.