Jo Cox was born at Staincliffe Hospital and raised in Heckmondwike and Batley. She went to local primary schools before attending Heckmondwike Grammar School and then Cambridge University. She was the first in her family to graduate from university.
After university, Jo worked in Parliament for Joan Walley MP, helped to launch Britain in Europe, the pro-European campaign organisation, and then spent two years with Baroness Glenys Kinnock in Brussels.
Jo then spent a decade working in a variety of roles with aid agency Oxfam, including head of policy, head of humanitarian campaigning based in New York and head of their European office in Brussels. Jo then went on to work closely with Sarah Brown to galvanise international action to stop mums and babies dying needlessly in pregnancy and childbirth.
Jo was national chair of Labour Women’s Network for four years working with the board to encourage more women to enter public life. She is a patron of Mariella Frostrup’s GREAT Foundation and sat on the board of the Burma Campaign for many years. She has also advised the NSPCC and Save the Children on their UK activities.
Immediately prior to standing for Parliament Jo was working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Freedom Fund, a charity working to end the scourge of modern slavery. She was also in the process of launching UK Women, a new research institute dedicated to better understanding the views and needs of women in the UK.
She was nominated in 2009 by the Davos World Economic Forum as a young global leader, and in 2012 received the DEVEX award for her contribution to international development.
Jo is married and has two young children. She divides her time between her home on a boat on the River Thames and her home in Batley & Spen.
Among Jo’s parliamentary interests are foreign policy, international development, early years education and social isolation. She is also taking a keen interest in the northern economy and regional devolution and is a member of the Communities and Local Government select committee.
Jo is co-chair of the Friends of Syria All Party Parliamentary Group and is an active member of parliamentary groups working on Palestine, devolution, Pakistan, Kashmir and Yorkshire’s regional economy.
In what spare time she has Jo enjoys climbing Scottish munros, running and cycling.