14 May 2024

Husband of murdered MP Jo Cox joins grieving mother’s 200-mile walk

14 May 2024

Murdered MP Jo Cox’s husband Brendan has urged the Prime Minister to “name a date” for counter terrorism legislation to be heard by Parliament as he joined the mother of Manchester Arena bombing victim Martyn Hett during her 200-mile walk to Downing Street.

Figen Murray was joined by Mr Cox and Charlotte Dixon Sutcliffe, whose husband David was killed in the Brussels Metro bombing in 2016, in Hinckley, Leicestershire, on Tuesday as she marked the halfway point of her 16-day trek from the arena where her son was killed to London.

Ms Murray says she is hoping to meet Rishi Sunak when she arrives at Downing Street on May 22, the seventh anniversary of her son’s death, to call for the implementation of Martyn’s Law.

The law, named in tribute to the 29-year-old who was one of 22 people killed at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in 2017, would require venues and local authorities in the UK to have training requirements and preventative plans against terror attacks.

Ms Murray said she had waited 18 months since Mr Sunak told her in a phone call that he was supportive of the legislation, which has yet to get beyond draft stage.

Joining Ms Murray on the second half of her walk, Mr Cox, whose wife Jo was murdered by a right-wing extremist outside a West Yorkshire library in June 2016, said he had been “inspired” by the grieving mother.

Speaking to the PA news agency, he said: “It shouldn’t come to this, frankly. The reality is that Government knows there’s this loophole in our security, it has promised to fix it, it has got draft legislation but it hasn’t put that to Parliament and until that is implemented, nobody is safer.

“The draft legislation doesn’t save any lives, so the reason we are all joining is partly because we are inspired by Figen, but also to demand that Government fulfils its promises.

“What we are hearing so far is that there is lots of support for the Bill, they’ve had two consultations, thousands of submissions to it, they are saying it is just a question of parliamentary time, so what we are calling on the Prime Minister to do is name a date.

“We want this put to the House of Commons ideally before the anniversary, or if not, in the days that follow, because it can’t wait.

“Until that legislation is implemented, the loophole that has cost so many people their lives, is still there.”

Ms Dixon Sutcliffe said joining the walk was a chance to do something “proactive”.

She said: “We expect as a nation that the politicians, the people that we have elected, have got our interests and our safety at their heart, and when something like this happens, we expect that the legislation is passed.

“We have been waiting a long time now, Figen has been campaigning on this and we have been supporting her for five years, and this walk is a chance for us to come together and do something proactively and support this incredible woman and get this Bill passed so we are all safer.”

Ms Murray said she has received “loads of support” from people who have joined parts of her walk, adding that she has been “almost too lucky” with the weather.

She told PA that it was time for Mr Sunak to “keep his promise” to put the legislation forward.

She said: “This legislation will inevitably save lives and it needs to happen sooner rather than later.

“Rishi Sunak promised me in December 2022 in a phone call, he said he was very committed and we’ve waited 18 months for this.”

A Home Office spokesperson said they were grateful to Ms Murray for her “tireless support” in bringing forward Martyn’s Law.

They said: “It is important that our new law stands the test of time and is a fitting tribute to those who have campaigned for it. That is why we have consulted on how we can protect the public without putting unnecessary burdens on smaller businesses.

“We are now in the final stages of drafting this legislation, and it will be brought in as soon as possible.”

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