Husband of slain UK MP Jo Cox steps down from charities after sexual misconduct claims
The widower of a slain British legislator has stepped down from two charities set up in her memory after allegations of sexual misconduct in the past were reported.
Brendan Cox said late on Saturday night he had acted inappropriately and would leave his positions at the Jo Cox Foundation and the More in Common charity.
Both were started after his wife Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death by a mentally-ill far-right extremist during the Brexit referendum in 2016.
Brendan Cox said he wanted to apologise “deeply and unreservedly” for his past behaviour while working at another charity.
“I do acknowledge and understand that during my time at Save the Children I made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offence,” he said in the statement.
He promised to hold himself to “much higher standards” in the future.
This came after The Mail on Sunday published reports alleging sexual misconduct on his part. Brendon Cox called the newspaper’s allegations a “massive exaggeration”.
Cox, who married his wife in 2009, was reported to police in Massachusetts in the US in 2015 for inappropriate touching while on a trip to Harvard. A woman claimed he bought her drinks, grabbed her hips and forced his thumb into her mouth in a sexual manner, The Mail on Sunday reported. The newspaper reported in 2015 that Cox stepped down from his position as chief strategist for Save the Children after allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” before a misconduct hearing.
Jo Cox’s family on Sunday offered support for Brendan Cox, praising him for taking responsibility for prior misdeeds. Her sister, Kim Leadbeater, said Cox “did the right thing” by admitting inappropriate behaviour.
“As a family we will support Brendan as he endeavours to do the right thing by admitting mistakes he may have made in the past, and we respect him for doing so,” she said. “We all make mistakes. Brendan is a wonderful father and I have no doubt about the happiness he brought to Jo.”
Brendan has campaigned publicly for his wife’s beliefs since her death.
She was a Labour Party legislator opposed to Brexit. Her killer, Thomas Mair, is serving a life sentence for murder.
Additional reporting by The Guardian