THOMAS MAIR, the 53-year-old man convicted of murdering Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, in June (News, 20 June), has been sentenced at the Old Bailey to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
He shot and stabbed the mother of two a week before the EU referendum. The judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, said that Mr Mair was a terrorist inspired by violent white supremacism and Nazism, whereas Mrs Cox had been the true patriot.
Mr Mair had not entered a plea to the charges, and offered no evidence in his defence.
The Bishops of Huddersfield and Leeds have paid tribute to Mrs Cox and urged the people of West Yorkshire to affirm what she stood for in life by choosing tolerance over hatred.
The Bishop of Huddersfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, said: “Jo stood for the very best qualities which we look for in all our politicians. She believed firmly that ‘what unites us is greater than what divides us’ — a principle she lived by throughout her career.
“We stand with those of all faiths and none across West Yorkshire in affirming what Jo stood for and we will honour her memory by working together for a more peaceful, tolerant and united world.”
The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, added his own words to the tributes to Mrs Cox, who was only elected to parliament in 2015.
“As the community in Batley and Spen continues to look for healing, so do we continue to pray for Jo’s family in particular as they adjust to a world without her,”he also said.
“What has been revealed during this trial indicates that a peaceful society needs to be vigilant in relation to those within it who seek to use violence to divide.”
The following day, Bishop Baines delivered the Thought for the Day on Radio 4, reflecting on both the plight of Christian refugees in Iraq, and the trial of Mr Mair.
In the broadcast, he said: “Words like ‘peace and reconciliation’ can appear bland, but the task of reconciling is demanding and costly. It’s about trying to hold together people whose experience has torn them apart.
“The symbol of Christianity is a cross — a man nailed to it with arms open, exposed to all that the world can throw at him, but not throwing it back.”