George Osborne backs memorial for Jo Cox

Posted On: 
19th June 2016

George Osborne has supported building a memorial to Labour MP Jo Cox, who was killed last week, but refused to be drawn on the idea of a statue by the River Thames.

George Osborne said he hoped there would be a memorial to Labour MP Jo Cox
Credit: 
PA Images

Ms Cox, who died after being attacked in her constituency on Thursday, lived on a river boat in the capital.

ITV journalist Allegra Stratton proposed a monument by the Thames to mark her life.

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Appearing on Peston on Sunday, Mr Osborne said Ms Cox’s family should lead on what form the memorial should take, but made clear he was in favour of commemorating her life.

“I hope there will be a memorial not just to her tragic death but to her incredible life,” the Chancellor said.  

“I think what you’ve seen in the last couple of days is not just a nation mourning the manner of her death but actually celebrating what she achieved in her short life.”

He added that the hundreds of thousands of pounds given to a fund supporting some of Ms Cox’s chosen causes reflected “the kind of Britain we don’t talk about enough, a Britain that’s very generous and open-hearted”.

Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, said he expected a shield to be mounted on the wall of the Commons chamber to commemorate Ms Cox’s life if the family agreed.

He told 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: "It has been the tradition that when a member of parliament has lost their life in the course of their duties they have been commemorated with a shield on the walls of the House of Commons chamber.

“It is obviously what her family wishes and it would be something that should be considered...

“What she did in her short time as a member of parliament, but also the symbolism that she stands for of free speech and democracy, should I think be marked. But the conventional way has been in the House of Commons chamber and that is certainly something I want to see discussed."

MPs will reconvene tomorrow to mark Ms Cox’s death, after Parliament was recalled.

There have been calls for MPs of all parties to sit together for the occasion – an idea which Mr Grayling said he “completely supports”.

“This is a memorial occasion, it's a chance to pay respects and when we all gather again tomorrow conventional party politics should be a million miles away,” the Tory minister said.