The sister of murdered Labour Batley and Spenborough MP Jo Cox has said the toxic culture of hatred within public life has got worse since her death.
Appearing at the Home Affairs Select Committee on last week, Ms Cox’s sister Kim Leadbeater discussed hate crime and its violent consequences with Scottish Conservative Party MP Douglas Ross.
The pair spoke about whether Remain advocate Ms Cox, who was killed by a man with far-right sympathies in 2016, had any concerns for her safety before she entered politics.
Ms Leadbeater said: “[Things are] worse without a doubt.
“She was very concerned about being a mum and being a good MP.
“But we didn’t talk about safety.
“During the time when she was an MP there were some cases when people said some very distasteful things online.
“There were one or two incidents which I found out about after Jo had been killed, which were worrying.”
Ms Leadbeater said abuse had been normalised for MPs, and the vast majority of abuse had been in the six months up to her murder and the EU referendum.
She said: “It’s almost a given [it’s] part of the job.
“That’s what they’ve signed up for, which is wholly incorrect.”
It comes as hate crimes hit a record high in the last year with a surge in the number of reported offences triggered by sexual orientation and transgender identity, official figures show.
Police in England and Wales recorded 103,379 hate crimes in 2018/19 - 10 per cent more than the previous year and more than double the 2012/13 figure of 42,255.
Part of the increase could reflect a “real rise” in reports of crime, the Home Office said.