MP holds back tears in Commons as she remembers Jo Cox during Brexit debate

PUBLISHED: 19:31 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:36 11 January 2019

Jo Cox has been remembered by her friend Jo Stevens in the House of Commons during an emotional speech in the Brexit debate. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jo Cox has been remembered by her friend Jo Stevens in the House of Commons during an emotional speech in the Brexit debate. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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Jo Cox has been remembered by her friend Jo Stevens in the House of Commons during an emotional speech in the Brexit debate.

Stevens started her speech by explaining why she voted against triggering Article 50 and supports a People’s Vote.

She said: “932 days on, we now know, because we have facts, that the referendum was drenched in illegality by both the Vote Leave and the Leave.EU campaigns. We know that electoral law was broken, that campaign spending limits were breached and that impermissible foreign donations came through online platforms.

“We have those facts from the Electoral Commission and the information commissioner, and, following the work of those regulators, investigative journalists and our select committee on digital, culture, media and sport, which has spent a year painstakingly investigating widespread evidence, the National Crime Agency is investigating Arron Banks, the largest political donor in UK history, and senior figures of the Leave.EU campaign, because there are reasonable grounds to suspect that Banks was not the true source of £8 million in funding to the Leave.EU campaign.

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She added: “That is important — it should not be dismissed as sour grapes — because it raises really serious concerns, which this government have deliberately chosen to ignore, about the legality and the validity of the referendum outcome.”

As she continued to explain why she would be voting against the Brexit deal she said that the continuous threats against MPs that disagree with Leavers needed to stop.

She said: “All the irresponsible, dangerous and inflammatory talk that we have heard in recent months about civil unrest, riots and treachery if we vote down this deal next week and have a People’s Vote has to stop.

Referencing Jo Cox, the MP who was killed by a member of the far-right just days ahead of the Brexit vote, she explained: “Every time I come into this Chamber, I look at Jo’s shield and think of her bravery and determination during her time here, and what she must have faced in those final moments confronted by extreme right-wing violence.

“We cannot allow a small minority of fascist thugs to undermine our democracy. They are using Brexit for the advancement of their far-right ideology, and we all have to oppose it.”

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Holding back the tears, she added: “In the vote next week, each of us will make our own judgment as to what is right in the interests of our constituents and our country. I am very clear about what I feel is right, and I will vote against this deal.”

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