LONDON — The husband of slain British lawmaker Jo Cox said Tuesday she worried about the angry direction of politics, and he believes she was killed because of her “strong political views.”
Brendan Cox said his wife had worried about politicians “creating division and playing on people’s worst fears rather than their best instincts.”
Jo Cox, a 41-year-old Labour lawmaker who had championed the cause of Syrian refugees, was stabbed and shot to death outside a library in her northern England constituency on Thursday. The suspect gave his name in court as “death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”
Her death brought a shocked three-day pause in campaigning for Britain’s EU referendum. The EU debate has seen fierce and often vitriolic argument about immigration and Britain’s place in the world.
In a televised BBC interview, Brendan Cox said his wife “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.”
He said “she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views.”
Some have urged Brendan Cox to run in the special election that will fill his wife’s seat in the House of Commons. But he said she would want her replacement to be a woman, and “my only overriding priority at the moment is how I make sure that I protect my family and my kids through this.”
He said he was grateful for the “public support and outpouring of love” he and the couple’s two young children had received. A fund set up to support charities Cox had backed has raised more than 1 million pounds ($1.47 million).