New MP Kim Leadbeater says she would 'give literally anything' not to be in sister Jo Cox's place

Kim Leadbeater said her sister made an "extraordinary" contribution to politics during her "tragically short time" in the Commons. Credit:

"I would give literally anything not to be standing here," the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox said, as she made her maiden speech in the House of Commons.

Kim Leadbeater, who in July narrowly won the seat previously held by her sister, told the Commons if she could be "half the MP my sister was, then it would be a huge privilege to get on with the job of representing the wonderful people of Batley and Spen".

The new Labour MP rose to her feet with a "huge feeling of pride and a significant amount of nervousness" as she paid tribute to Ms Cox, who was killed in a 2016 gun and knife attack carried out by far-right advocate Thomas Mair.

Ms Leadbeater said Ms Cox was "a compassionate and caring humanitarian, a proud Yorkshire lass, a friend to many... and the best big sister anybody could ask for".

Ms Cox said in June 2015 that "we are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides", with Ms Leadbeater insisting: "Those words are as true today as when she said them. Perhaps even more so."

Standing close to the spot where her sister previously sat in the Commons, Ms Leadbeater said the past 10 weeks since her election to represent the West Yorkshire constituency had been a "blur" and compared Parliament to Hogwarts from the Harry Potter stories.

She joked: "Nobody gave me a book of spells or taught me how to play Quidditch, but here I am."

She added: "I am sure every new MP experiences the same mixture of pride and responsibility that I'm feeling right now.

"But, as the House does my family the great honour of paying tribute to my sister, I hope members will understand that I mean no disrespect to this place when I say that I'd give literally anything not to be standing here today in her place."

Ms Leadbeater said she was "delighted that our parents, Jean and Gordon" were watching her speech from the public gallery.

Speaker of the House Sir Lindsay Hoyle told Ms Leadbeater that everyone in the Chamber was "moved" by her speech, adding: "We'll always think of your sister and I know that you're going to be a great member of Parliament."

Ms Leadbeater said her sister made an "extraordinary" contribution to politics during her "tragically short time" in the Commons.

Watch Kim Leadbeater's maiden Commons speech in full:

"Jo's murder ripped the heart out of our family," she told MPs.

"I've spoken on many occasions about my ongoing disbelief and devastation following her death - and it still doesn't feel real, today more than ever.

"And it was devastating for the people of Batley and Spen too because so many of them had also taken her to their hearts."

After recalling words from Ms Cox's maiden speech, Ms Leadbeater acknowledged that the siblings had had their differences and disagreements.

She said: "Of course we do, and the world would be a very dull place if we didn't, but we should also have the ability to respect each other's opinions when we disagree and the good sense to know that our communities can only thrive when they embrace each and every one of us.

"And I am very clear that we cannot pick our equalities."