By Jennifer Logan
Hundreds of people in Brighton came together last night (Friday 17 June) to remember the Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered on Thursday.
The 41-year-old was shot and stabbed in Birstall in her West Yorkshire constituency on Thursday afternoon (16 June).
The public vigil, organised by Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party, was held at St Nicholas’ Church, in Dyke Road, Brighton, from 7pm to 9pm, with a two-minute silence at 8pm. Other vigils were held around the country.
The Rev Chris McDermott said: “I would rather be anywhere else than here tonight. I would rather you were all somewhere else. And I dearly wish Jo was at home in her constituency with her family. But that’s not the case.
“This is why we have come together this evening to share our thoughts, to share our memories to honour Jo’s life and everything she stood for.”
Hundreds came to listen to tributes to remember Mrs Cox and to lay flowers, light candles and stand in silence in memory of the MP.
Fellow Labour MP Peter Kyle, who represents Hove, was a friend. He said that he was inspired that everyone would come out to celebrate her life and come together as a community to mourn her loss.
Mr Kyle said: “Jo was an absolutely remarkable person. She was extraordinarily brave. She was a master of her own destiny, which was an incredible achievement in politics.”
“I don’t have it in me to forgive the person who did this to Jo. But what we need to do as a nation is find a way of moving forward – individually, as a community, as a town and as a county.”
Baroness Joyce Gould said that Jo was an exceptional person and that she was bright, funny and made an immediate impression on all that she met.
Brighton and Hove Labour Party chairman Lloyd Russell-Moyle read a statement from the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
He said: “There is something wrong with the state of politics at the moment. It’s a real shame and we need to really start to appreciate each other more.”
Paul Oestreicher, vice president of CND and a former chairman of Amnesty International, said afterwards that Mrs Cox would not want people to hate the man who killed her.
“To hate him would be the wrong response,” he added.
A book of condolence was left for people to sign. A fund set up in her memory has raised more than £220,000 for three charities that were close to her heart – the Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate and the White Helmets.