This morning with my kids all I could think about was the family who’ve woken up with their lives changed forever.
Yesterday a mum, who left home to do her job to serve her constituents, was cruelly and brutally taken from them. Her husband and their children are in my thoughts and prayers.
When something terrible happens, I feel it. I am not one of those who shies away from emotion. And I, like so many others, am really feeling it today.
In Orlando, when all those people were massacred for simply being themselves, the hurt was overwhelming. And here in Britain, we have seen terror on our streets and lost an incredible woman.
Grief, sorrow, anger, frustration, confusion.
Jo Cox was a wonderful MP. Much will be written about her and she deserves all the tributes that are being paid.
Very few politicians had her vision and courage when it came to standing up for Syria and for refugees. She was really affected by their plight and when she spoke in Parliament I was deeply moved. She came to the Commons to make a difference, for something she believed in.
For too long we have allowed division and hatred to thrive. Vitriol has risen, and only yesterday we saw the shameful and sickening sight of England fans taunting child refugees, while public figures went out of their way to fan the flames of prejudice.
I am angry and upset at all those politicians, public figures and newspapers who wilfully stir up fear and hatred.
Political debate has become a nasty place where personal attacks, blaming foreigners, migrants, the poor, the different, have become palatable.
Where has all the hope, and optimism, and decency gone? It will be quoted many times over, but Jo’s words in her maiden speech couldn’t be clearer and couldn’t be more poignant – ‘we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.’
Today I won’t be campaigning in the referendum, but I’m going to be in my constituency doing what MPs do; I will be holding an open-air surgery.
This is how I, in my small way, can pay tribute to Jo.
This is what I encourage all people in politics to do today. Be in your constituency, be in your ward. Be part of your community. Reach out, lend a hand, support, listen, comfort and help. This is what we’re here to do.
Tomorrow I will begin again to make the positive case for Europe.
I am fed up with the anger and the hatred. It’s gone on for too long. I am a passionate believer that being part of Europe is better for our country, yet this debate has been suffocated by ego and dirty politics.
We must turn a corner.
Let this be a turning point for our country. When the world around us is fearful, confusing, and clouded, let us be the beacon of tolerance and hope.