This week’s column: Tribute to Jo Cox and thoughts on today’s referendum

Last Thursday I was attending a palliative care award event with David Hanson when we heard the news of the brutal attack on our colleague, Jo Cox. Jo was 41 and had only been in parliament for a year, but in that time she had made a name for herself as a courageous campaigner for her constituency, and also for the poor and dispossessed around the world. She leaves her husband and two children and we will miss her deeply.

Her life was taken by someone who seems filled with hate and also a twisted idea of what it means to be British and patriotic. On Monday Parliament was recalled and it was one of those rare occasions where everyone came together as one in remembering Jo’s life but also thinking about how we conduct our politics in the future.

The morals by which Jo lived her life were inspiring and she always saw the good in people. Although the devastating news was obviously very disconcerting for elective representatives, she would have not wanted this act of hatred to affect what we do and therefore our work must go on.

Today the United Kingdom faces its biggest decision in a generation. I will be voting to remain in the European Union because I believe it is in the interest of economy, to our country’s security and above all to the benefit of the people of Alyn sand Deeside.

The EU is not perfect but if we are going to make it work better we need to be at the negotiation table and not isolated without influence. Whatever your opinion on Europe this referendum will shape our future, not only for us but for our children and grandchildren.

I believe that solidarity is essential if we are to tackle a number of the issues we face today, issues that are global by nature such as climate change, refugees and terrorism; issues that cannot be tackled alone.

At other election times we hear a lot of people, particularly younger people, saying voting doesn’t make any difference. Well this referendum will certainly make a difference no matter the outcome, and I urge people to use their democratic right and take part in this referendum.