” How are you ? Follow me, this place is a real labyrinth, I’m still getting lost! “ The Labor MP Kim Leadbeater welcomes without ceremony in the corridors of the Palace of Westminster, ecstasies on the millenary framework of Westminster Hall, points out with greed the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, one of the multiple gems of the British Parliament.
Elected barely six months ago in the constituency of Batley and Spen (in the north of England), in a by-election prompted by the departure of another Labor, Tracy Brabin (now mayor of the West Yorkshire), it is still in the discovery phase. “I am living a new chapter in my life, strange and incredible”, slips the chosen one.
Long blond hair, with a sympathetic approach, Kim Leadbeater is a ball of energy. But much more: at 45, this former physical education teacher is a symbol of resilience. She is the sister of Jo Cox, the Labor MP murdered in the middle of the street in Batley on June 16, 2016, by a white supremacist, on her way to her parliamentary office.
Kim Leadbeater was elected under the same Labor colors and in the same constituency as her sister, two years her senior. “If Jo hadn’t been murdered, I wouldn’t be here today. I’ve always been interested in politics, but I never thought of making it my career. Jo and I looked very similar, we both wanted to help people. I first did it through education. ”
“It’s ridiculous, there is no question of it! “
The two sisters, of modest origin (father worker in a cosmetics factory, mother secretary in a school) are from this corner of Yorkshire. Jo, reputed to be more introverted and a brilliant student, joined the University of Cambridge, got a taste of politics very quickly, going through the posts of parliamentary assistant, then embraced a career in humanitarian aid (for Oxfam and Save the Children), multiplying international experiences. Elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015, she is a passionate lawyer for the European Union during the Brexit referendum campaign – and is killed a week before the poll, her disappearance creating intense emotion in the United Kingdom, in a highly charged political atmosphere.
Kim Leadbeater had chosen to stay in Yorkshire, close to their parents, and set up his fitness company. Jo’s death is a blast for this tight-knit family: Kim gets involved with her parents in the Jo Cox Foundation, in order to bring the memory of the MP to life (through local and national campaigns against hatred or loneliness) . Taking over the political torch from her big sister was not an easy decision – she wasn’t even a Labor activist before joining the ranks in May when relatives of Jo Cox suggested she take the plunge.
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“If Jo Cox had not been murdered, I would not be here today”: in England, Kim Leadbeater takes up the torch from his sister