BRENDAN COX insists he will not stand in the Batley and Spen by-election.
Mr Cox spoke publicly for the first time about the death of wife Jo in a ‘pool’ interview on Tuesday conducted by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.
She asked if he would run and Mr Cox replied: “No. No, my only overriding priority at the moment is how I make sure that I protect my family and kids through this.
“Jo was a passionate feminist, somebody who actively campaigned to get more women into Parliament and I think she would have been very annoyed with me if I decided that when an angry man kills a young female MP, she would be replaced by another man.
“So I hope that whoever replaces her will become another female MP.”
Mr Cox added: “She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views.
“I think she died because of them and she would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life.
“I don’t want people ascribing views to her that she didn’t have but I certainly want to continue to fight for the legacy and for the politics and the views she espoused.
“Because they were what she was, she died for them and we definitely want to make sure that we continue to fight for them.”
Mr Cox said his wife was worried about the tone of politics, particularly the EU referendum, which she saw as whipping up hatred.
He said: “I think she was very worried that the language was coarsening, that people were being driven to take more extreme positions, that people didn’t work with each other as individuals and on issues; it was all much too tribal and unthinking.
“She was particularly worried – we talked about this regularly – about the direction of politics, not just in the UK but globally, particularly around creating division and playing on people’s worst fears rather than their best instincts.”
Mr Cox also praised efforts to bring communities together in the wake of his wife’s death.
“Right around the world there’s this idea to mark what made her who she was and also both as an act of memorial but also to say that our societies can be fairer, more loving, less nasty, less hostile places,” Mr Cox said.
“But then I also hope it will bring people together and send a message that counts, not just in the next few weeks, and that it will change the way people think about how you do politics, how you engage with each other, how you treat people – that’s what I hope.”