The husband of the murdered MP Jo Cox has stepped down from the charities he set up in her memory following accusations of sexual harassment.
Brendan Cox has left his role as director of More In Common and The Jo Cox Foundation after saying he would “take full responsibility” for his actions.
A former colleague from Save the Children made accusations about his conduct, which were then followed up by allegations published in the Mail on Sunday that he forced himself on a woman during a trip to Harvard University in 2015 which was reported to the police.
Mr Cox denied preying on the two women while he was married to Jo Cox and described the allegations as a “massive exaggeration”. He did however admit that his behaviour had made “people feel uncomfortable”.
“I want to apologise deeply and unreservedly for my past behaviour and for the hurt and offence that I have caused,” Mr Cox said.
“In the aftermath of Jo’s murder, I promised that I would dedicate my life to two things, firstly loving and protecting our children and secondly fighting the hatred that killed Jo.
“In the last few days allegations from several years ago have resurfaced that makes concentrating on both of those tasks much more difficult. For that reason, while away over half-term, I decided to step down from my current public roles for the time being.
“While I do not accept the allegations contained in the 2015 complaint to the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I do acknowledge and understand that during my time at Save the Children I made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offence. This was never malicious but it was certainly inappropriate.
“In the past I have focused on disputing what I felt was untrue in the allegations, but I realise now that it’s more important to take full responsibility for what I have done.
“I am committed to holding myself to much higher standards of personal conduct in the future.”
The Jo Cox Foundation said it accepted the resignation and that it remained committed to continuing on the work.
“Since establishing the Jo Cox Foundation, the trustees and staff have admired the integrity, commitment and dedication that Brendan has shown in our work to create a positive legacy for Jo,” a spokesperson for the charity said.
“The Jo Cox Foundation was established in September 2016 to channel the energy and determination generated by Jo’s life and murder into practical efforts to advance the causes she championed.
“The trustees and staff remain committed to continuing this important work and honouring Jo’s life.”