GMB Magazine GMB25 Fusion Summer 2016 - Page 2

In memoriam Jo Cox, MP 1974-2016 Just as we were about to send this magazine to the printers, news reached us of the shocking killing of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, and GMB member. Jo’s friend Cath Speight has written this memorial to her. B right, vivacious, courageous, caring: all words I would use to describe my friend Jo – along with commited, passionate, tenacious! There really aren’t enough words to describe the young woman taken from us so violently on Thursday 16 June. She was killed doing her job, a job she loved, representing the people in the town where she grew up. I grew up there as well – it’s a really unremarkable town, but with a tight-knit community. It’s a deprived area, typical Northern working class; nothing ever really happens in Batley. When I first met Jo, she came to see me because of our connection, the town we both grew up in. She told me she wanted to be the next MP. I saw the fire and excitement in her eyes as she told me she wasn’t interested in being an MP anywhere else and would not stand in any constituency other than in her home town. I decided there and then that Batley and Spen would be so very, very lucky to have her as their MP. GMB25.Jocox_02.indd 2 The selection wasn’t without its issues. Some Batley folk were suspicious, but it didn’t take Jo long to win their hearts and before long she had a committed and enthusiastic campaign team. I went up on a number of occasions to help out in the 2015 election campaign. Watching Jo tear round the streets of Batley and Spen door-knocking or leafletting at 100 miles an hour made all of us feel exhausted just watching her. I saw her talk and engage with young and old alike with the same enthusiastic smile and welcome. She radiated happiness and it was infectious – you couldn’t help but smile when you were in her company. She was as comfortable showing her constituents’ children around the House of Commons and telling them about its history as she was on her feet in the chamber challenging the Prime Minister. She wanted to do so much and had so many plans to try and improve things in unremarkable Batley. We are all the poorer following her death, but our thoughts and prayers must go to Brendan, her two beautiful children, her parents and all her colleagues, friends and family who have lost a wife, a mother, a daughter and comrade. We are all the better for having known her. RIP, Jo. Cath Speight GMB National Political Officer 21/06/2016 14:08