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Murdered MP’s sister: silent majority must mobilise against hatred

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Kim Leadbeater tells the Gathering that the fight for murdered MP's legacy goes on

The silent majority who shun hatred and prize community cohesion must speak out to beat division.

That was the message delivered by Kim Leadbeater, the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, when she spoke to visitors at the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations’ Gathering conference.

Leadbeater talked about her role in the charities the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common, which were set up to continue the legacy of the Labour MP, who was killed by a far right terrorist on 16 June, 2016.

She told how her family was plunged into turmoil after the killing, but how they quickly resolved to use the most profound of tragedies to create good.

Since her sister’s death, she has been involved in various events aimed at bringing communities together and spanning division.

Most notably, these have included the Great Get Together, a series of community parties attended by thousands on the anniversary of her death, and the Run For Jo.

The work of the charities will go on, she told the Gathering, and the focus will now turn to reaching parts of communities where extremism is ingrained.

She said: “I am aware that there’s a sense we’ve been preaching to the converted, but we must now reach out to those who have encountered extremist views.”

Leadbeater also said she hopes the More In Common model will spread and be replicated in more and more communities, as the problems of division and hatred are international.

She said: “There are still issues in Scotland and across the UK and in fact internationally, where we have a rise in extremism across the US, in Europe, in France and Germany for instance.”

Leadbeater added: “Jo used to talk about the silent majority and I’m really embarrassed that I was part of that silent majority – I knew what I thought was wrong and right but I didn’t do anything about it.

“And I think now is the time for the silent majority to make a difference by speaking out, to mobilise.”

At the meeting, she also briefly addressed the issue of Brendan Cox, the husband of Jo Cox, who stepped down from his roles at the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common after allegations were made about his conduct while he worked for Save The Children.

Leadbeater said: “It’s been another very difficult week for our family. Brendan was very instrumental in setting up the Jo Cox Foundation and the More in Common movement but equally he was part of a team of people and that team still remains as focussed as ever in continuing the work and to create a legacy for Jo through the foundation and the More In Common movement.”