Harriet Harman – 2016 Speech in Tribute to Jo Cox


Below is the text of the speech made by Harriet Harman, the Labour MP for Camberwell and Peckham, in the House of Commons on 20 June 2016.

I want to add to the very moving tributes to Jo. I got to know Jo after the 2010 general election, when she was elected to chair Labour Women’s Network, which she did for four years. She would regularly burst into my office with that extraordinary energy she had and tell me all that they were doing to help Labour women get elected to Parliament to give women a bigger voice in the party. So many of the Labour women here in this Chamber today who were elected in 2015 and who are so deeply mourning Jo’s loss were women whom, under Jo’s leadership, Labour Women’s Network helped and supported.

Not long after she had her son, she came to give me one of those regular briefings, and, of course, the baby came too—I remember it because she literally did not stop kissing him all the way through the meeting. When she had her daughter, she was still there for the women who were trying to become candidates—texting them support, phoning to commiserate if they did not make it, urging them to try again. Her feminism—her solidarity with other women—was a thread that ran through her and all her work in her community and for humanitarian causes. She always said to me emphatically that her children were her priority above everything. But there was no dividing line between Jo’s maternal heart and her great political heart. Her children will grow up to know what an amazing woman their mother was. She is such a great loss to our politics; and an irreplaceable loss to her family, to whom we send our heartfelt sympathy.