Shortly before the Council meeting began this evening the shocking news that Jo Cox had died was confirmed. At the beginning of the meeting my Chaplain Rod Garner movingly included her in his prayers along with the victims of the shootings in Orlando. I had planned to say something about the events at Orlando but news of Jo Cox death could not be ignored, This is what I said :
'In a moment I will ask you to stand for A MOMENT as a mark of respect for Jo Cox and the victims of the Orlando killings. These two crimes motivated by hatred have been referred to by my chaplain. They bring us up short and put into perspective all our doings. They touch on all of us, but our thoughts are particularly with our Labour colleagues this evening who must be devastated by her death. As Tom Watson has said 'she was a compassionate, principled and beautiful person'.
I wish to refer to the slaughter of members of the LGBTI community in Orlando. Members will know that the flags on our Town Hall have been flown at half mast. It is important that we remember in our thoughts and prayers the members of that community. The events in the US should motivated us to use our position in this Council and as community leaders to challenge the hatred that led to that despicable crime. I have spoken with Mike Homfray the Co Chair of Embrace , the network for LGB people in Sefton, to express my outrage at this attack and to pass on our condolences . As he remarked to me , we may have passed equality legislation but that is the only the beginning of the action we need to talk to combat homophobia'