Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has led the tributes to Jo Cox in parliament, calling the murdered MP "one of our very best"

Mark Sands
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The UK's leading politicians have paid tributes to "one of our very best" slain MP Jo Cox (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has led the tributes to Jo Cox in the House of Commons, calling the slain MP “one of our very best”.

Corbyn said Cox, killed last week in her constituency of Batley and Spen, showed both “extraordinary humanity and compassion” in her work as a campaigner for Oxfam, as an anti-slavery activist and as an MP.

“Jo Cox didn't just believe in loving her neighbour, she believed in loving her neighbours' neighbour. She saw a world of neighbours. She believed every life counted equally,” Corbyn said.

“Her community and the whole country has been united in grief and united in rejecting the well of hatred that killed her in what increasingly appears to have been an act of extreme political violence.”

The Labour leader concluded: “Today we remember Jo's compassion and her passion to create a better world. And in her honour we recommit ourselves to that task.”

Prime Minister David Cameron was also fulsome in praising the late MP, who recalled first meeting Cox while she was campaigning in Darfur.

"Jo was a humanitarian to her core. A passionate and brilliant campaigner, whose grit and determination to fight for justice saw her time and time again driving issues up the agenda and making people listen and, above all, act,” Cameron said.

“Quite simply, there are people on our planet today who are only here, and alive, because of Jo."

And the Prime Minister was among the many speakers to reiterate Cox's own comments as part of her maiden speech, in which the former MP said: "We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us."

Throughout an hour-long session, tributes poured in from across the Commons benches.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said Cox's legacy would be "of building bridges, not walls", while the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford added that the former MP "branched her arms around the world with so much love", and Conservative Andrew Mitchell called Cox "a staunch friend of the most desperate and deprived in the world".

However, some of the most emotional tributes came from the Labour benches.

Stephen Kinnock said of Cox: "She exemplified the best values of our party, and of our country: compassion, community, solidarity and internationalism."

Stephen Doughty, who worked with Cox at Oxfam, said he was "in awe" of the former MP, who he described as being focused on "doing for others, not just being for ourselves".

And former shadow treasury minister Alison McGovern said that Cox took on "the toughest of problems, the most forgotten of causes", and separately heralded Cox's work inside the Labour Women's Network.

"She was a feminist whose activism saved lives and got women elected to this house," McGovern said.

The UK's largest political parties have decided against contesting the Yorkshire seat out of respect.

A date has not been set for the Batley and Spen by-election.

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