The sister of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox says she will never agree to taking part in open-surgeries with voters and revealed that she carries alarms with her over fears of being attacked.
In an exclusive interview, Kim Leadbeater MBE also said much more needed to be done to protect politicians in the wake of Jo’s murder.
Kim Leadbetter joined Gloria De Piero on GB News GB News
Speaking to Gloria De Piero, Kim, who now serves as the Labour MP for Batley and Spen, spoke movingly about life without her sister and admitted she hadn’t grieved seven years on from the 2016 attack.
Revealing the measures she puts in place to try and protect herself she told Gloria Meets on GB News: “For lots of MPs things changed after Jo was killed around engagement with the public. Some MPs still do open surgeries, I don’t, and I never will.
“People in Batley and Spen fully respect and understand that. I think, unfortunately, because of what happened to Sir David Amess, other MPs have reviewed it in light of that. But you need to be accessible. And that's the balance. And I want to be accessible.
“We do a lot of appointments where people will come to the office, but it's all pre-arranged. We'll do telephone calls, we do quite a lot of phone calls with people. Obviously, you can do a lot by email. So, there are ways of communicating with people. You don't have to do that open surgery.
Jo Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times in West Yorkshire PA
“I kind of get it where some people will say, ‘Well I want to be accessible to my public and all the rest of it’, but then look at what can happen. And let's pray that it never happens again. But it's happened twice now, and that for me is enough to know that that is not the way of doing this job safely.”
Explaining how she gets support from the police, Kim continued: “West Yorkshire Police have been absolutely amazing. I work with them very closely now around community policing.
“I’m always out and about in the constituency. I mean, that's the other thing about representing somewhere where you live, I want to go out and I want to meet people.
“I don't want anybody to feel sorry for me. I have chosen this. MPs have chosen to go into public life, we’ve chosen to do our jobs. We don't want sympathy; we don't want pity. But I think it's also important that people understand the reality of what it's like to be an MP, or indeed a councillor.”
Kim said she carries three alarms to help safeguard against the risk of attack.
She said: “One of those I just carry just because I’m a woman. But then a couple of others are linked to the police. It is weird that that's now what my life looks like. But equally, I’d rather have them than not have them, because the last thing I want is for my parents, or partner, or family and friends, to get that phone call that you know, no one should ever have to get.”