Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has been appointed chairwoman of the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in the wake of the Labour MP’s murder in 2016.
Ms Smith, who served as the UK’s first female home secretary from 2007-09, said she hoped to use the role to counter the “toxic level of public debate” in the country.
The charity undertakes initiatives to bring people together in line with the principle set out by Ms Cox that “we have far more in common than that which divides us”.
Ms Smith, who was already a member of the Foundation board, said she was “enormously excited and honoured” to be appointed to take over from Nick Grono.
“Many people feel that this is a divided country with an increasingly toxic level of public debate,” she said.
“Jo wouldn’t have stood for that. She would have reached out and built a movement for positive change – strengthening local communities, leading respectful national debate and advocating for a fairer world.
“I’m going to use my national experience and the inspiration of having known Jo to support the Foundation in delivering some really exciting plans over the coming years.”
Ms Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, said: “We are delighted to have Jacqui join as chair of Jo’s Foundation. For my parents and I it means a lot that somebody with such a wealth of experience and enthusiasm is heading our board.
“Jo knew Jacqui and respected her enormously so she really is the perfect person for the role.”
Picture: File photo dated 07/05/10 of former home secretary Jacqui Smith who has been appointed chairwoman of the Jo Cox Foundation, set up in the wake of the Labour MP’s murder in 2016. (David Jones/PA).