Greg Lance – Watkins
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much as I am sadened that a single lone individual could be so disturbed that they could plan and effect the murder of a stranger, whether that stranger was an individual of note – there are no circumstances where an individual should be in a position to kill another other than in self defence, or carrying out an execution authorisedf by the Courts, after a fair and exaustive trial, for certain types of crime.
The murder of Jo Cox was a shamefull act of cowardice.
I do not for a moment agree with much of the behaviour of the unfortunate Jo Cox, her views or values nor her actions or ambitions, though I don’t doubt she served her electorate as they wished, I can not feel other than sadness at the death of Jo Cox.
That said that her husband immediately rode her coffin for personal and political gain I found singularly distastefull, particularly in the light of the known fact that he was all too willing to betray her trust in him, with his lewd and and bullying abuse of women!
I was however even more disgusted by the immediate actions of the Labour Party and the left wing in particular in exploiting Jo Cox’s tragic and senseless murder, by a clearly unbalanced loner, seeking to atribute the murder to right wing views of extremists when there was absolutely no evidence to support their ever having met the cowardly killer.
The efforts to all but beatify the victim was mawkish in the extreme and aan unarguable attempt to politicise her death for Socialist gain – Consider the recall of Parliament & the full blown excercise in virtue signalling of a full HoC debate as a eulogy to this now dead junior politician, so recently voted to office as an MP.
The degree to which this was disproportionate can best be measured when compared to the clearly political murders of long serving MPs by cowardly murderers of the terrorist IRA:
- Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson Bt. MP
- Airey Neave MP
- Rev. Robert Bradford MP
- Sir Anthony Berry MP
- Ian Gow MP
I am sorry for Jo Cox’s death and have every sympathy with her family and particularly her parents, siblings and children.
Jo Cox’s husband Brendan confesses to inappropriate behaviour amid new allegation that he drunkenly ‘grabbed a woman by the throat’ as he is forced to quit the murdered MP’s charities
- Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, admitted to being a sex pest
- Also resigned from Jo Cox Foundation and More in Common, charities he set up in honour of his late wife’s memory
- He is accused of harassing a female employee at Save The Children in London
The husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox last night sensationally admitted to being a sex pest – and quit two charities he set up in her name.
Weeping openly, Brendan Cox apologised for the ‘hurt and offence’ he has caused to women, and said that he was ‘deeply apologetic’ for his behaviour.
In a highly emotional interview with The Mail on Sunday, he dramatically announced his immediate resignation from the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common – the charities he launched to honour the memory of his wife.
His confession came as this newspaper uncovered shocking new details of a second sexual assault he allegedly committed.
The accusation relates to his time with Save The Children in the year before his wife was killed by a far-right fanatic during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign.
Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox (pictured together), has admitted to being a sex pest and resigned from two charities he set up in her honour
It is claimed that Mr Cox drunkenly harassed a female employee at the charity in London, forcing her against a wall outside a bar, holding her by the throat and telling her: ‘I want to f*** you.’
The incident led to him being forced to leave the charity in 2015. Save The Children’s chief executive Justin Forsyth, a close friend of Mr Cox and former aide to Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, resigned four months later.
Astonishingly, one month after Mr Cox left the charity, a senior female US Government official told police Mr Cox had carried out a similar alleged assault on her at Harvard University in America – as this newspaper revealed last week. The woman was unaware of the Save The Children incident at the time.
In another development, it emerged yesterday that Mr Forsyth was also the subject of a complaint by a female employee. It related to an ‘inappropriate comment’ he allegedly made. The complaint was investigated and said to have been resolved ‘by consensus’.
Insiders insist Mr Forsyth’s subsequent departure from the charity had nothing to do with the complaint against him, nor the handling of the Cox scandal. Mr Forsyth was then appointed deputy executive director of Unicef in New York, a post he still holds.
A Save The Children source said: ‘Brendan and Justin were a formidable double act. But they were too big for their boots.’
The disclosures will fuel the current controversy over charity sex scandals and cover-ups.
Mr Cox said in a statement to this newspaper: ‘I accept I have made mistakes, behaved badly and caused some women hurt and offence. I take responsibility for what I have done. I apologise unreservedly for my past behaviour and am committed to holding myself to much higher standards of personal conduct in the future.’
He is accused of drunkenly harassing a Save the Children employee in London by forcing her against a wall outside a bar and holding her by the throat (Pictured, Mr Cox during a special service for his wife at Trafalgar Square in June 2016)
It marks a dramatic fall from grace for Mr Cox, who has won praise for the way he has focused on bringing up his and his wife’s two young children and thrown himself into charitable work since her death.
He says he is determined to end his ‘deeply inappropriate’ behaviour and strive harder to keep the vow he made after his wife’s murder to ‘love and protect our children and fight the hatred that killed Jo’.
But Mr Cox said the furore over his conduct made his charity work more difficult and he would therefore give up public life – for now at least.
Brendan and Jo met while working for Oxfam, where Mr Forsyth had been their boss. Mr Forsyth became Gordon Brown’s campaigns chief when he became Prime Minister in 2007, and Mr Cox joined him in Downing Street, while Mrs Cox became an adviser to Sarah Brown. The Coxes married in 2009.
When Labour lost the 2010 Election, Mrs Cox followed her political dream – eventually being elected MP in 2015. Mr Forsyth became Save The Children’s chief executive and Mr Cox went with him as director of policy, including responsibility for the ‘empowerment of women.’
Some colleagues say he had a reputation for pestering women for sex. ‘It wasn’t comfortable being on duty alone with him,’ said one.
‘He would buy women drinks, his hands were everywhere. Everyone knew it was going on, but he was best friends with the boss.’
Matters came to a head after a Save The Children drinks party in July 2015. ‘Brendan was dancing provocatively with a woman who told him to leave her alone,’ said one source. ‘She joined a group of women who went on to a bar. Brendan followed them. He got her outside, pushed her against a wall and tried to force himself on her.’
Another source said: ‘He was drunk, said, “I want to f*** you” and held her by the throat. She was outraged and made a complaint.’
Some female employees are said to have feared Mr Cox was ‘shielded’ by Mr Forsyth, and threatened to resign unless Mr Cox was fired.
Mr Cox has dramatically announced his immediate resignation from the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common (pictured: Brendan and Jo outside 10 Downing Street)
Charity chiefs suspended Mr Cox, banned him from the office and set up a disciplinary panel. Mr Forsyth did not sit on the panel because of their close friendship.
But the investigation was effectively scuppered when Mr Cox refused to attend a disciplinary hearing and suddenly resigned. The charity was told they could not find him guilty of misconduct without hearing his side of the story.
The ploy also meant Save The Children could not tell Harvard he had been found guilty of misconduct when he attended a course there four weeks later. This newspaper revealed last week how a woman, whose identity we withheld, complained to US police, accusing Mr Cox of sexual assault while there.
By her account, he cornered her in a bar, plied her with drink, ‘grabbed her by the hips, pulled her hair, forced his thumb into her mouth in a sexual way’ and later sent her obscene text messages. Police filed her complaint as ‘assault and battery’, but she told them not to take further action because she ‘feared repercussions’.
Mr Cox last week called the allegations ‘spurious’. Yesterday he said he did not ‘recognise or accept’ her claims.
Following the murder of his wife, there were reports that Mr Cox was lined up to succeed her Labour MP for Batley and Spen in Yorkshire, but he did not do so. The Mail on Sunday has been told Labour officials advised against it because of rumours about his behaviour.
Mr Forsyth’s successor as Save The Children chief executive, Kevin Watkins, last night announced new measures to stop staff being abused by colleagues in the wake of the allegations about Mr Cox.
He pledged to take charge of a major shake-up of the charity’s complaints procedure and vowed a ‘zero tolerance of disrespectful behaviour’.
Mr Watkins could face tough questions over the Cox scandal – as well as other allegations of misconduct by aid workers – when he is quizzed by MPs this week.
Mr Forsyth declined to comment last night.
Additional reporting: Charlotte Wace
Was I inappropriate? I thought I was flirtatious. But I overstepped the line: Brendan Cox’s astonishing tearful confession over his inappropriate and often drunken behaviour
BY JO MACFARLANE
The strain of the last week is etched plainly on Brendan Cox’s face. His manner is as crumpled as his casual black T-shirt and jeans; his eyes heavy and rimmed with red. This is a man in turmoil, struggling to confront some very difficult personal truths.
Today, Brendan sits in the houseboat on the River Thames in London that he shares with his two young children, and holds his head in his hands. He is plagued, he admits, with a sense of crushing guilt.
Guilt that his sexually inappropriate, often drunken behaviour led to damning complaints about him by two women, which is why, he says, he is taking part in this extraordinary and often tearful interview.
But there is clearly shame, too, that this behaviour has now forced him to step away from the work he has been carrying out in memory of his wife, the Labour MP Jo Cox. He has quit the charities the Jo Cox Foundation and More In Common as he withdraws from public life.
It is a remarkable fall from grace. Yet while Brendan is keen to apologise for any offence caused to women by his behaviour, he remains reluctant to face head-on the disturbing details of the sex abuse claims he now faces.
Mr Cox was, until now, a grieving widower, but now finds himself labelled a sexual predator who is accused of trying to take advantage of other women during his marriage
Brendan was, until now, a grieving widower who, in the aftermath of his wife’s shocking murder just before the 2016 Brexit vote, had been dedicating himself to campaigning on her behalf. Now, he finds himself labelled a sexual predator who is accused of trying to take advantage of other women during his marriage.
‘I know that there are instances when I was working at Save the Children that did make people feel uncomfortable and that they felt was inappropriate,’ he concedes. ‘And I think that charge is a fair one. There will be people who will put the worst possible spin on this and assume it was malicious or a deliberate act.
‘Others will think I behaved unacceptably badly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m innately a bad person or that it’s not possible to learn from those mistakes.
‘I know I’ve never acted with malice or tried to upset people, but I’ve clearly made people feel like that.
‘The thing I want to say today, to people that I have offended and upset or to those I’ve let down, is that I am deeply sorry for doing that. I feel that very profoundly.’
The small, cosy living space on the boat, warmed today by a wood-burning stove, is filled with pictures of the family in happier times. They adorn every wall, every surface. There are photographs of a smiling Jo with their children; a photograph of the couple on The Cuillin mountain range in Skye where Jo realised she was pregnant with their eldest son; and a poignant painting of Jo and the kids on the deck of the boat, which, Brendan says, captures her gait perfectly.
Yet this cosy domesticity stands in stark contrast to the damning allegations about his behaviour during their marriage. There were even rumours, which he does not deny, that he slept with other workers at the charity. Did Jo know about any of it?
‘I’m not going to talk about my relationship with Jo,’ he says, firmly. ‘We never pretended that we had the perfect relationship, or the perfect marriage.
Mr Cox said: ‘This is about me, and my behaviour – not about her. I’m sure people might advise me to talk about her but it’d be a PR tool and that doesn’t feel right’
‘We had difficult times, we had amazing times, but I’m not going to recount conversations I had with her because she’s not here.
‘This is about me, and my behaviour – not about her. I’m sure people might advise me to talk about her but it’d be a PR tool and that doesn’t feel right.’
Such declarations are to his credit. And yet Brendan maintains even now that the allegations against him are a ‘massive exaggeration’ of his actual behaviour. He is today refusing to discuss the details of any incident.
Last week, The Mail on Sunday revealed that a woman complained to police in the US over an alleged sexual assault at Harvard University in October 2015, where Mr Cox was attending a course. Her claims – categorically denied by Brendan – include that he plied her with alcohol, tried to force himself on her, and inserted a thumb in her mouth following a late-night dinner.
Brendan says he is keen not to disclose confidential details of a separate incident in July 2015 involving a colleague at Save the Children. But what he is prepared to concede is that both women saw his behaviour very differently than he did.
Hearing that he was ‘known’ as a sex pest and that women were reluctant to be on duty alone with him at the charity, appears to come as a shock. Brendan looks visibly uncomfortable and turns away, rubbing his face with his hands.
‘It’s entirely fair to say that other people felt my presence was different than I meant it to be. The sense that I was physically imposing… I don’t think I had a good account of that, and how that made people feel in some situations. At the root [of the rumours] was a sense, which is fair, that I could overstep the line.’
To his regret, he failed to acknowledge that at the time. It may seem a weak defence given the seriousness of the allegations, but Brendan insists he saw his behaviour as playful rather than predatory.
‘Maybe if I had seriously sat down and thought about it in the cold light of day then I might have been clearer on it. Certainly, I had too much to drink at times. I probably behaved in a way I thought was sort of jokey, or flirtatious. I often wasn’t being serious, but that was perceived differently by others.
Hearing that he was ‘known’ as a sex pest and that women were reluctant to be on duty alone with him at the charity, appears to come as a shock to Mr Cox (pictured during a previous interview with the BBC)
‘There was never any malice; any intention to upset or offend people. But the bigger picture is that you do have to face up to how you make people feel, not just what your intention was. I didn’t reflect on it – that’s not a defence, it’s a failing. It’s not good enough. With the #MeToo movement, I think people, including me, are reflecting not just on their behaviour but the power imbalance in some encounters. It’s a painful thing, if you’re one of those people, but ultimately it’s a healthy thing to be going through.’
The realisation may have come too late. The allegations are so serious they may end Brendan’s public life. ‘I didn’t want the charities to suffer from my mistakes,’ he says. ‘They’re important both for Jo’s legacy and for building stronger communities and that’s more important than any individual. I didn’t want to be a burden or a distraction to any of that.’
It is hard, too, not to consider what Jo would have made of it all. It is an enormous source of regret to Brendan that she is not here to support him now.
‘It would have been a very difficult conversation,’ he says. ‘But yes, I agree – I’d have drawn so much comfort from it.’
When asked if he feels he has let his late wife down, there is a long pause. When he eventually speaks, his voice is choked, his eyes wet with tears.
‘I think that I’ve let myself down,’ he says, quietly. ‘I need to take responsibility for that. It’s what I’m trying to do.
‘With everything that’s happened in my own life, and the public conversation, I am a lot more reflective than I would have been. I want to make sure that in the future I hold myself to a much higher standard, and that nothing like this can ever be said of me again.’
A legacy, perhaps, that Jo could be truly proud of.
‘I think that I’ve let myself down,’ Mr Cox added. ‘I need to take responsibility for that. It’s what I’m trying to do’ (pictured with his sons on the River Thames)
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