The victim

Labour MP seen as rising political star

LONDON • Mrs Jo Cox was considered to be a rising parliamentary star.

The 41-year-old, who leaves behind a husband and two young children, represented the area she grew up in and had the plight of refugees close to her heart.

Before standing for Parliament, she had been the Oxfam aid agency's policy chief, and her killing ends what looked to be a promising political career.

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes, describing the opposition Labour MP as a "bright star". On Twitter, Mrs Cox described herself simply as: "Mum. Proud Yorkshire lass. Labour MP for Batley and Spen. Boat dweller. Mountain climber. Former aid worker." She would have been 42 next Wednesday.

Her husband Brendan Cox was an adviser to former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, and the family lived on a converted barge on the River Thames in London.

Her father Gordon worked in a toothpaste factory and her mother Jean was a school secretary.

Mrs Cox graduated in 1995 from the University of Cambridge, where she first got interested in politics. She went on to help launch the pro- European campaign organisation, Britain in Europe.

She later spent a decade working for Oxfam in New York, Brussels and war zones as head of policy and of humanitarian campaigning.

She was also the national chair of Labour Women's Network for four years and worked with Mr Brown's wife Sarah on galvanising international action to stop babies dying during pregnancy and childbirth.

Mrs Cox also worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before standing for Parliament in the May 2015 General Election.

In a tribute, Mr Brown said his memory would be "forever scarred" by her killing. "Whenever you talked to her, the compassion in her eyes and the commitment in her soul shone through.

"She went to some of the most dangerous places in the world. The last place she should have been in danger was in her hometown."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Labour MP seen as rising political star'. Subscribe