A Wearside MP says the tragic death of Jo Cox must not be allowed to change the relationship between voters and their representatives.
The 41-year-old Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen was brutally killed in the street outside her advice surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire, on Thursday.
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson today paid tribute to her Labour Party colleague and insisted it was essential to maintain the relationship between MPs and their voters.
“Jo was a wonderful and principled woman, who had a lifetime of public service,” said Ms Phillipson.
“This is heartbreaking news and my thoughts are with her husband Brendan and their young children.”
Politicians have been advised to talk to local police forces about the security measures they have in place for meetings with the public.
It is imperative that MPs are accessible to their constituents, in order that we can act on behalf of the people we were elected to represent, and that must always remain so.Bridget Phillipson
Ms Phillipson said she had spoken to police about security, but it was vitally important to preserve the relationship between politicians and voters: “I am grateful to Northumbria Police for the support their have offered and their assistance at this time,” she said.
“It is imperative that MPs are accessible to their constituents, in order that we can act on behalf of the people we were elected to represent, and that must always remain so.
“I could not do my job effectively if I was not available to meet my constituents through surgeries and knocking on doors to find out what local people think and what needs to happen.
“It is a vital part of our democracy.”
Defiant MPs went ahead with constituency surgeries nationwide today.
Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said: “I know MPs are scared. We’ll be reviewing our security, but I’ll walk through Barnsley today like every Friday.”
And his colleague, Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, said: “I plan to keep to all my engagements today, including my surgery. I will ensure there is security present, however.”
SNP MP Joanna Cherry said she would be holding a two-hour constituency surgery.
And Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I will never be able to forget what has happened to Jo and, as we’ve all said, it’s incredibly, incredibly sad.
“I think you do have to bear in mind the safety of your staff at all times as well, who are quite often with you when you’re meeting members of the public, and so you cannot avoid taking these risks and concerns very, very seriously but to not let it stop you from being the effective MP that your constituents deserve.”