Bishop of Leeds Nick Baines and Bishop of Huddersfield Jonathan Gibbs have called for a more peaceful, tolerant world following a guilty verdict for the killer of Labour MP Jo Cox.
Right-wing extremist Thomas Mair, 53, has been given a life sentence for shooting and stabbing to death the mother-of-two who represented the Batley and Spen constituency. Mair shouted “Britain First” as he attacked the 41-year-old Remain campaigner in Birstall, West Yorkshire, days before the EU referendum vote. He gave no evidence in his defence at his Old Bailey trial and speaking afterwards, Mrs Cox’s husband Brendan said he felt “nothing but pity for” Mair.
Right Revd Jonathan Gibbs, Bishop of Huddersfield said today:
“The murder of Jo Cox MP was a very dark day in the life of our nation.
“The trial of Thomas Mair and today's verdict have demonstrated the vital importance of justice and the rule of law which are at the heart of our nation. We pay tribute to Jo's wonderful example of service and to the bravery which she demonstrated right to the end of her life.
“We also pay tribute to the dignity and courage of her family and we will stand with them and continue to hold them in our prayers in the months and years ahead. Jo stood for the very best qualities which we look for in all our politicians.
“She believed firmly that 'what unites us is greater than what divides us' - a principle she lived by throughout her career.
“We stand with those of all faiths and none across West Yorkshire in affirming what Jo stood for and we will honour her memory by working together for a more peaceful, tolerant and united world.”
Also speaking just after the verdict, Right Revd Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds said:
"Today justice has been done, but the grievous loss of an MP, wife and mother is not thereby resolved.
"As the community in Batley and Spen continues to look for healing, so do we continue to pray for Jo's family in particular as they adjust to a world without her. What has been revealed during this trial indicates that a peaceful society needs to be vigilant in relation to those within it who seek to use violence to divide."