THE ASSISTANTS to murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox have spoken about the life-changing moment which saw the mother-of-two killed in front of them.
Sandra Major and Fazila Aswat were with Mrs Cox as she left her car and headed towards Birstall Library for a constituency surgery on June 16. The Labour MP was then shot and stabbed repeatedly by white supremacist fanatic Thomas Mair, who was jailed for life last week.
Speaking to the BBC Ms Aswat, Mrs Cox’s office manager, said that an incident such as the one she witnessed “can’t not change your life”.
She told the BBC Look North programme: “I think in the aftermath of what happened it was very difficult to find anything good about that situation, but actually what I take away from that is Jo wasn’t on her own.
“That’s a massive thing for me now, which I console myself with, she wasn’t on her own, she was with two people that very much loved and cared for her.”
Ms Aswat said that she refused to let hate consume her.
“It is an opportunity for me to be stronger, bolder and to take forward some of Jo’s mentality which is to look at the positives in a very negative situation,” she added.
The Labour MP’s senior case worker, Mrs Major described the events of June 16 as “surreal”.
“She went to all those war-torn places of the world, and then she got killed in Birstall,” she said. Mrs Major described Mrs Cox and Mair as “polar opposites”.
She said: “I think that he was a very evil person for what he did, and Jo was an amazing person.
“They were polar opposites. I think the fact that Jo was killed as an act of hatred has changed my life and made me want to help to carry on Jo’s legacy.”
Ms Aswat described her boss as a “future minister” despite only serving as an MP for just over a year.
“She was a bundle of energy and would fill her diary from nine in the morning to 10 at night,” she continued.
“Even if there was 100 people in a room, she would want to talk to every single person.”
‘50,000 hate tweets’ in aftermath of killing
MORE THAN 50,000 tweets apparently celebrating the death of murdered Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox were posted in the month following her killing.
The tweets, sent by at least 25,000 individuals, described her killer, Thomas Mair, as a “hero” and a “patriot”.
Campaigners have now called for the government to do more to tackle online hate crime.
Academics Imran Awan from Birmingham City University and Irene Zempi from Nottingham Trent University studied 53,000 tweets.
They found that some of the most common words used in the aftermath of the murder to describe Mair and Mrs Cox included “hero”, “patriot”, “white power” and “traitor”.
Nick Lowles, chief executive of Hope Not Hate, said: “It is time for the authorities to take greater note of these ideologues of hate, and time too for social media companies – and Twitter in particular – to up their game when it comes to providing a safe platform for expression.
“Free speech does not equal hate speech, which can have very real consequences and impact in communities in the UK.”