Jo Cox's family say they will support Brendan Cox in wake of sexual assault allegations

‘As a family we will support Brendan as he endeavours to do the right thing by admitting mistakes he may have made in the past,’ says murdered MP’s sister

Maya Oppenheim
Sunday 18 February 2018 12:16
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Brendan Cox steps down from Jo Cox charities after sexual harassment allegations

The sister of the murdered MP Jo Cox has said the family will stand by the late politician’s husband after he was accused of sexual assault.

Brendan Cox, whose wife was murdered by a far-right extremist in June last year, stepped down from two charities he set up in his wife’s memory after allegations of sexual assault became public.

Kim Leadbeater expressed her support for Mr Cox in the wake of the allegations and heaped praise on him for his fathering skills.

“This is another very difficult day for our family. The last 20 months have been a constant rollercoaster of emotions which we are still dealing with on a daily basis,” she said in a statement.

“My priority is and always will be looking after Jo and Brendan’s children and supporting my parents, who have already been through so much.

“As a family we will support Brendan as he endeavours to do the right thing by admitting mistakes he may have made in the past, and we respect him for doing so. We all make mistakes. Brendan is a wonderful father and I have no doubt about the happiness he brought to Jo.”

She said her other priority was continuing work with More in Common and The Jo Cox Foundation – the two charities Mr Cox has stepped down from.

“My other focus is to wholeheartedly continue the work I have begun through the More in Common movement at a local and national level and to support The Jo Cox Foundation in continuing its valuable work,” she said. “I have a fantastic team of people who have supported me so far and I know they will continue to do so as we focus on creating a positive legacy for Jo. Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support.”

Mr Cox has denied assaulting a woman in her thirties at Harvard University in 2015 but admitted to “inappropriate” behaviour while working for Save the Children.

The father-of-two, who married Jo Cox in 2009, decided to leave posts at More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation a week after the Mail on Sunday published the claims. He apologised for the “hurt and offence” caused by his past behaviour, saying he would “take full responsibility” for his actions.

“I want to apologise deeply and unreservedly for my past behaviour and for the hurt and offence that I have caused,” he said in the statement. “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 make 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.”

Mr Cox was reported to police in Massachusetts in America in 2015 for “inappropriate touching” while on a trip to Harvard – an allegation he denies.

He said some of the allegations against him were a “massive exaggeration” but admitted that he had at times “overstepped the line”.

“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,” he added in the statement.

Brendan Cox urges Britiain not allow division after London attack

In 2015 the Mail on Sunday reported that Mr Cox had stepped down from his position as chief strategist at Save The Children after allegations of “inappropriate behaviour”, which he denied at the time.

Jo Cox was brutally shot and stabbed by a far-right extremist in Birstall, in her constituency of Batley and Spen, in June 2016.

A spokesperson for the Jo Cox Foundation heaped praise on the contribution Mr Cox made as a trustee.

“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,” they said.

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